Moon-face


 Celeste Lipkes

 

The side effects of Prednisone include mood swings, rounding of the face, sensation of spinning, thin, shiny skin, and poor wound healing.                  —About.com 

 

The doctor clicks his pen and says it's just a phase.
My fat moon-face comes second to the x-rays

he pulls from a folder labeled with my room number.
I'm taking 75mgs of Prednisone a day. It's summer,

and I'm paler than I've ever been. Lookin' good,
the doctor says, by which I think he means: you could

look worse. Here in room 208, I've come to love
men who tell the truth, who touch me without gloves,

and let me skimp on barium. My x-ray tech this afternoon
wasn't one. He looked at me as if peering through

a telescope and, I, the cold and distant satellite,
moved quietly into his crosshairs. Hold tight!

he said. I waited for him to let me breathe again.
Released and back at home, I drift into the kitchen.

I'm scarred and white and wide, but never full. I try to sleep.
I think: my life is one big compromise while counting sacrificial sheep.

One night I cup two dozen pills inside my palms,
close my eyes, and think of swallowing them all.

Instead, I eat two sandwiches. Outside, on the night's thin skin,
a white bruise grows, then shrinks, then blooms again.