Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 1, March 2011

Ray Rasmussen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Public Exposure

The waiting room is occupied by young folks festooned with tattoos, piercings and 'dos, their faces holding the practiced blankness I remember from high school. There's a funereal silence—no chatting, no cell phone gab, no hand-held game sounds. Odd man out, forty years their senior, I wonder, are they speculating about why I'm here?

To protect our identities, we've been given pseudonyms. When mine is called, I walk down a long corridor and enter the office of a nurse whose age is near mine. She says, "So why are you here?"

"I'm in a new relationship. I don't think that anything is wrong, but I'd like to be sure."

"I'll bet she sent you," she chuckles.

"Well, yes, we'd like to be sure . . ."

Snapping on latex gloves, she says, "Let's have a look."

"No, nothing's obviously wrong . . ."

"Well then," she sniffs, "I'll have to ask you some questions before we schedule the tests. How many partners have you had in the last five years?"

A number finds its way out that she writes on her clipboard.

"Have you been with any sex-trade workers?"

I want to tell her that my partners have always been women I know and care about, but I mumble "No."

"Now, we really should have a look," she says, repeating herself.

I decline and hurry out the door.

rose petals
in the vase
a thorny stem







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