This morning the receptionist ushers me
into the Magnolia Room, reserved
for those receiving a “different type”
of mammogram, although I can discern
no obvious difference from the Dogwood Room,
where I waited last week for the usual sort,
the one about which my friends and I joke
and pretend we schedule as casually as a teeth-cleaning.

Today I’m not smiling, and neither are the other women
who sit in the low lighting, all of us swaddled
in plush white robes, flipping through articles
headlined “How to Lose Ten Pounds Overnight,”
as if we cared — although I note the title could be
a great mastectomy joke if I should happen to need one.

My technician appears, gestures me into the hall,
says, “You’re fine,” as the door swings closed,
two words neatly dividing my morning from that
of the women still waiting to hear. We lean against
the wall, her in blue scrubs, me in my white robe,
the little metal bead still stuck to my right nipple
in case we had to do it again. She’s explaining
about dense breast tissue and how the radiologist
needed a clearer view,

                                                          but I am already back
in the cubicle, peeling the bead off, flicking it
into the trash can, glancing fondly at my good
right breast, appreciating the jaunty air it wears
this morning, the way the nipple perks up, scenting
escape, the obliging way it settles into the pocket
of my bra, and then I’m crossing the room,
shoving the robe deep into the hamper, nodding
to the one woman still waiting to learn which direction
her life will take.

                                                                “I hope your news is good,”
I say, then step into the benediction of fluorescent lights,
the beckoning sign that tells me I am free
to exit into the unremarkable morning
with its unremarkable sunlight splashing
like a waterfall over the green leaves
of the heart-stopping unremarkable trees.