January 31, 2020

Wendy Barker

IN THE ENDOSCOPY CENTER

I’m led into the cubicle and instructed
by prim little Kristin to “lay down” on the cot,
at which point I reveal my inner grammar
cop and explain that she means I’m to “lie down”
unless she wants to lift me up and plop me
down herself. “Oh,” she blurts, “I didn’t know,”
rushing out before I can pull the stinger. Then
Fred comes in with the IV to put me under for
the gastro doc to probe my entrails, and with
a grin calls me “professor,” adding he’s glad to
see I’m “lying down.” How long had my
inner bitch lain dormant before growling into an
outer bitch? I should have scoped the lay
of the land before going all English prof on this
poor girl. Best to let such sleeping dogs
lie. But my grammatical husband, sitting with me,
chuckles and nods. I sure wouldn’t want
to shock young Kristin with a tale from memory
lane, how in college we joked about who’d
just gotten laid, since I’ll bet she’d be more comfy
if I quoted the old prayer, “Now I lay me
down to sleep,” and I would not want to lay on
her the fact that this beloved man
of mine is, amazingly, still eager to lie with me.

from Rattle #66, Winter 2019

__________

Wendy Barker: “I’m afraid I’m addicted to poetry, reading and writing—it keeps me breathing. In fact, it’s one reason I can’t stop teaching—I adore workshopping poems with our students, especially the grad students, many of whom are doggone good. And I also adore swapping poems with writer friends—could not do without those delicious exchanges.” (web)

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