at a small university deep
in the Delta Bible Belt, where she is faculty advisor of the literary
first novel, Burning Tulips, was published by Red Hen Press.
the Count of Ten
I say ten, think of red.
One, he always volunteers in my classroom.
Two, my students think they're hypnotized.
Three, one hour passes with everyone quiet.
Four, he's such a nice man, I hope this works.
Five, this reminds me of high school. Pretend or not pretend?
Six, I pretended. They applauded. Felt foolish.
Seven, there's no way I'm pretending I have my period.
Eight, glad he's not charging me for these sessions.
Nine, tells me I owe him ten blank tapes after period begins.
Ten, think of red? Red. Red. Red. Red. Red.
we finish our session, he gives me a tape
of his voice leading me into menstruation.
I listen to it in bed with a glass of wine.
Then I listen to it without the wine. The background
sounds like water dripping. Bloody water?
At the count of ten, think red.
week I return to his office.
He says I have a cold body temperature.
Hooks me to a biofeedback machine. No period.
Let's try hypnotism again.
When I stand up, I'm disappointed
there's not a puddle of blood on my chair.
He tries so hard. Such a nice man.
months pass without a period and I visit
my physician. He puts his gloves on, inserts
his finger, shows me bloody glove and says,
"You should have sex more often."
next day I bring the hypnotist
a box of blank cassettes.
Relieved, he smiles.