My First Time

in honor of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020


The memory buzzes under
my skin like neon—in my young
twenties, before I understood
my daily risk of harassment
and humiliation, before I had
grievances, before I knew I was
entitled to grievances, I was
at the gynecologist, wrapped
in a johnny, lying down
on the examining table
for my first such exam,
knowing in the observing part
of my brain that a nurse
was supposed to be with me,
afraid of what the doctor
might find, and he entered
the room friendly, an older man,
asked me a few questions,
and then commanded, slide on
down here, Margot. I’m gonna
fill you full of cold steel.