“If Your Uterus Runs on Birth Control Standard Time, Allow Me to Jog Your Memory,” Mindy Nettifee

It is truly something, after all these years,
how it never fails to catch me by surprise, at least a little,
despite the week of warning signs,
the swollen sore breasts sulking in the cage of an underwire,
the awesome overreaction parade.

How it casts the previous three days in a radical new light—
explaining the asshole on Friday who spoke four decibels too loud
and wore his ego like a unitard of burrs;
why I struggled not to cry when that text message took that tone with me;
why I drank way too much at the Neil Diamond impersonator concert
and kissed that girl full on the flower;
why I ate shit biking home the next day;
why I lay on the couch for hours and hours watching movie previews
and eating chocolate popsicles and feeling sorry for myself;
why I grew forests wanting you to come back.

Slightly dazed at the small rosy sunset of evidence,
I tilt my head to the side and relive it all,
letting the humiliation do its humble work.

I am suddenly not unraveling, sweetwonderfuljesus.
I am not a crazy person, trapped in a spiraling universe
of increasingly implacable darkness and despair.
I am not losing it at all,
or I am, but in the most familiar unchangeable way.
It’s just the goodbye party I am never invited to but always throwing.
Just the unwinding of the world’s oldest clock,
the one that will wake me up two weeks from now
in the dark first hours of the morning
with its soft insistent ticking.

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