Once a month we drive there, drive home; I dress,
undress—four hours, one specialist, swabs, cultures.
The hope that this time my tiny cells and spores
will tell their secrets to a thin, glass slide. He holds
my hand while the doctor touches with a Q-tip,
the cotton-soft pain test: Where does it hurt? One to three?
Three’s the worst. She runs her gloved fingers
around that familiar circle. And I wish she looked
as lovely as the woman we saw in Paris—
how alone at the café she leaned over her wine glass,
traced its thin edge, listening for the shine of sound.
Katherine Bode-Lang was born and raised in western Michigan. She is the 2014 winner of The American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize; The Reformation will be published this fall. Her chapbook, Spring Melt (Seven Kitchens Press), placed second in the 2008 Keystone Chapbook Contest and earned the New England Poetry Club’s Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. She has published in numerous journals, including The American Poetry Review, The Mid-American Review, Beloit, The Cincinnati Review, and Subtropics. Katherine earned her MFA in poetry at Penn State University, where she is now an IT Trainer in the Office of Research Protections. She lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, Andrew.