Photo of a white washed waiting room with plastic chairs, a door and a painting on the wall

Two poems by Elise Forslund

Eye Appointment

I have an eye appointment at 10 AM 
after checking in at the front desk 
I sit down in a plastic chair 
right next to a woman 

We’re the only ones here and
common courtesy would dictate 
I sit as far from her as possible 

But I notice the woman has 
brown hair like me 
hazel eyes like me 
her hair shorn short like me 
               I wonder if she cut it with kitchen scissors 
               in a fit over the sink like me 

The woman looks so much like me that
any objection over manners seems unlikely 
               maybe they are sisters 
                                                            maybe

I look down at my semi translucent body 
the edges of my hand blurring 
right in front of my face

I see her clearly 
her presence stark against 
my body’s half-hearted truancy 
she looks so much like me that I might 
as well sit in her seat 

What happens when you crush 
the defined with the indefinable 
on a plastic chair in the waiting room 
of an ophthalmologist

For a moment I become the woman 
and the front desk assistant glances up 
and she finally sees me 
as this woman, as we are
she calls our name 
and we get up – no 
you get up 
she called your name 
and you walk towards the nurse 
who will take you to the exam room 

I jump up 
intent on following you 
because I crave that visibility 
that I have when I am you 
when I am us

I follow 
Woman around like 
a lovesick puppy
and yet,

Photo of a white washed waiting room with plastic chairs, a door and a painting on the wall

Tanka, For Adam 

Count up my ribs and 
tell me I am a woman 
— do not look at the 
     upturned earth leering at 
     me from across the garden.

About the author

Elise Forslund (she/they) is a non-binary poet currently living in Washington, D.C. They use poetry as a means of artistic expression and catharsis and take a lot of inspiration from the confessional poetry tradition. You can find Elise on twitter @elise_forslund.

Waiting room photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash.

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