Eve, healer

In my memory, she is holding her scrawl, stored on the yellow
legal  pads bearing  her patients’ babbled  fears. She clutches
mine,  the one  she carried  to my appointments,  hand racing to
catch  everything  the doctor said.  One idea splintered  to a
hundred questions, suggestions, tests—
 
maybe          it could be,
we might try,                  keep an eye on her.
 
She  didn’t  believe in  erasers or blank  spaces, covered every
page  she could.  At home, she  asked me if I  still saw the
tornados  coming to  swallow us,  when did my hands  start
looking like that? Like all women, she hid her fears from what
she  loved.  Of course  you washed cereal  down with pink
potions  of pretend  cherries. Every  brain had its terrors,  and
surgeries helped us grow beyond them. Brilliant architect, she
scheduled  check-ups between  swim lessons and sleepovers,
fashioned  my world plain  enough that I never  thought to
question  it. Miraculous,  how we imagine all  lives look like
ours— until  we discover others.  When I woke to blood  at
thirteen,  I sprinted  to her in soaked  panties. Poised over
scribbles,  she paused with  a smile and promised  all was as it
should be.  When I slinked away, she crossed  out a line,
hieroglyphed  its margins, just to  make sure she didn’t leave
anything out.

 


Whitney Rio-Ross has published poems in Gravel, Adanna, Rock & Sling, Waccamaw, and elsewhere. She holds a Master’s in Religion and Literature from Yale Divinity School, where she was able to study feminism in relation to literature and the divine. She teaches English classes at Trevecca University in Nashville, TN, where she lives with her husband and practically perfect pup.

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