Color Therapy at the OB-GYN’s
by Anna Evans
The waiting room is resolutely purple.
The plum-upholstered chairs are comfortable
as an airport lounge; flecks of grape pepper
the rug. I blench at the lilac walls.
On one mahogany table squats an ugly plant —
each flower looks like the split head
of a red cabbage. I think it’s fake.
I think a man decided this color
soothed anxious females,
of whom I see plenty: a long-legged teen
with a blotchy face, a thirty-five-year-old
in a gray suit who keeps checking
the clock. Another woman grimaces
at a squalling infant,
which is not the baby
the magazines promised her.
The room should be womb-red,
the color of the sticky cry
we mop up monthly.
After each child I bled
for weeks; it was an honest wound,
the angry hue of that newborn’s mouth.
This time, I am expecting
the violation of the gown,
which flaps open at the front;
I know how my heels will part
into those padded stirrups
so unlike a lover’s cupped hands,
but I always forget how it feels
when the cold speculum steals inside
me, permitting the antiseptic
scrape of my scarlet wall; how, later
my husband, eager to take me
to dinner, will tap his foot while I steam
in a shower, never long or hot enough.
by Anna Evans
I imagine she was christened Susan,
and prefers the full name. She works
as a flight attendant for US Airways;
her smile is mostly lipsticked on
while her elbows and knees
are pared down to aisle essentials;
she collapses perfectly
into herself like a foldaway table.
When you call her she does not answer
at once; she hesitates toward you
politely, as though you were a foreigner
in first class. She offers to help you,
will not show you what she thinks,
pretends you are not wasting her time.
Anna Evans is a British citizen but permanent resident of New Jersey,
where she is raising two daughters. Her poetry has been published in many
journals including Verse Libre Quarterly, The Absinthe Literary Review,
Tattoo Highway, Asphodel, and One Trick Pony. She is editor of the
formal poetry e-zine The Barefoot Muse. A 2005 Pushcart Prize nominee,
Evans is enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Bennington
College. Additional samples of her work are available on her website.
Like many of my poems, “Color Therapy” is rooted in reality. My OB-
GYN really did just redecorate the waiting room in purple, and this
got me thinking about the gulf that can exist between male and female
life experiences. I wrote the poem to try to provide an insight into that
particular one. I recently wrote a poem about my base-line mammogram
which has similar aims.
“Your Wife” is a more whimsical poem, touching on the way that,
with couples, it is sometimes possible to guess at the nature of a person
you don’t know based on the nature of one you do.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 1, Number 1
Copyright © 2006
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors