It’s Nothing You Did
A woman is most vulnerable flat on her back, knees to her chest, panties dropped to the floor.
Darkness surrounds her as the room’s shadows whisper.
A wand scans the woman suspicious of doctors since decades ago a resident got stoned and joked about breasts.
Today’s doctor is young, completing her residency in Atlanta, disgruntled at this Emory hospital, mumbling something about politics, the patient pool, the South.
The lights go up and the darkness comes, flooding the room with the question: “Has everything else been normal?”
The doctor speaks of skewed fetal anatomy, the baby’s body gone awry: “enlarged cisterna magna”; “posterior fossa abnormalities”; “Dandy-Walker malformation”; “malignant tumor between the hemisphere halves.”
It will be difficult to offer counsel. An ultrasound a month—for five more months—will tell whether to terminate when it is too late.
Month after month, the practice continues: knees to chest, panties to floor, exposure to darkness and wand while whispers grow louder then lessen.
It is time for consultation in the room where there are tissues, pamphlets about grief, fluorescent lights, and finally the words:
“I am sure it is nothing you did.”
Aimee Pozorski is Professor of English and Director of English Graduate Studies at Central Connecticut State University. She lives in New Britain, Connecticut.