by Angelica Recierdo

My legs only know how to spread in two ways
From pleasure or concern
The latter brought me up on a cold metal table
For a nurse to tell me the secrets I keep
She tells me if I’m not careful, life can happen
That the time is ripe to produce another
I close my eyes and repent
Make a plea bargain with a God I only call upon
In times of trouble and war
I’ve been sick from a man’s sin and seed before
Have let a man leave himself in me before
I’ve claimed my space
The outcome is always a held breath,
Released only when I’m sure my body has survived him
But viruses linger, lab values mix
With lust and trust.
Cells multiply and divide. I am afraid of
Most forms of mitosis. I am afraid of
Being marked by misjudgment
I sweat at acronyms of pathogens,
At words like biopsy
Positive and negative, normal
and abnormal, make me
Make me normal
I tell the nurse, yes, you can have a piece of me
Like a psychic, I wait for her
To tell me a future I can live with.

Angelica Recierdo is a Clinical Content Editor at Doximity and is based in San Francisco, CA. She holds a B.S. in Nursing from Northeastern University and a M.S. in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University. Her writing can be found in The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Literary Orphans, Halfway Down the Stairs, and The Huntington News.