Between Periods

January 9, 2008
By Mary Houlihan, San Francisco, CA

Today was my first day at that place,
where they keep feeding you and feeding you and feeding you,
and there’s only two bathrooms.
I want to buy them cans of aerosol spray.

8:50 a.m. and I’m back again.
The nameless tenants of the apartments above walk in and out,
we exchange our familiar nameless smiles.

3:30 p.m. and I’m at my next destination.
My doctor asks me what have you eaten
and I tell her with utmost honesty that I am healthy and fine and doing great and I’m feeling better and I have more energy.

Then she shoots me down and I don’t feel great but bad and fat and ugly and terrible and hopeless and I want to put a bomb in the basement
so that the files and the scales and the free samples will fly into the air
and become nothing but ashes.
I want to see the corners of children’s books and those wooden multicolored shapes that ride along the wires in the waiting room fly through the neighbors’ windows,
shattering glass and waking babies.
I want to watch the blacktop of the parking lot burn and burn and burn and burn.

8:50 a.m. I am daydreaming.
I sit on the green recliner and look at the cut on my hand
from pulling its broken lever.
I go into the hall in search of a Band-Aid.

It’s Friday and they call me in.
Jeannie asks me if I want to look or not.
I step on the scale backwards, then forwards.
I’m doing better, whatever that means.

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