These are the words for hysterectomy The words for no more children These are the words written on her body These are the words that are her body now
Dorsal lithotomy position Endotracheal anesthesia 12-mm infraumbilical incision Trendelenburg position Salpingectomy Colpotomy
They incise her vagina remove her fallopian tubes leave her ovaries, a small gift while she breathes evenly None of this is a coincidence she has thought about this has let go the histrionics came with childbirth the chaos first of lack of sleep, of breastfeeding then of ear infections, pediatrician appointments, rushing to daycare before and after work the guilt the pressure Do you remember what it was like? No, she’s made her peace as they snip and grind and grate and stitch she radiates calm no histrionics now
The patient tolerated the procedure well and was transferred to the recovery room in stable condition
Carolyne Van Der Meer lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. She has two published books, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014) and Journeywoman (Inanna, 2017). A collection of poetry called Sensorial is forthcoming from Inanna in 2021. Her poetry and prose have been published internationally.