In August, after your annual mammogram,
the doctor asks you to return for a core
needle biopsy; and you lie in the surgery

three days later, arm upraised, numbed
from the armpit all the way down your right
side. The doctor and his aide make light

banter while waiting for more lidocaine
to take; then you feel a small, dull 
punch, a formless ache; a tug, 

before they apply a gauze square 
and a piece of bandage. Straight-
forward, unremarkable. That is, jabbing 

into the lumpy oatmeal bowl of your breast 
is so much quicker a procedure, more pain-
less than if you turned a corner and ran

accidentally into a construction worker 
carrying an armful of metal pipes—
you'd bruise for days, and know 

exactly why. When you get the call
a few days later, the doctor says benign 
inconclusive: meaning there's something

sitting there like a pellet 
of hardened oats, a clump of brown 
sugar. It's not doing anything, but

not going anywhere either. They don't
know why; meaning the body, that book
of mysteries and secrets, wins again.

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