Literature

The woman with shaved head by Satyapal Anand

The woman with shaved head
 
“Schmoozing with a head is no nonsense matter,”
She said, and I kept quiet for I didn’t know the word.
We went in the same car for our trip to the hospital;
she for her cryo surgery, I for my radiation.
Prostate cancer was my patrimony; head tumor was hers.
Can we trade our cancers? Once I asked.
You can, she said, for you also have a head, but I can’t.
I said, I know, you don’t have a prostate.
I have a uterus though, she said, but I wouldn’t
trade it, no matter what.
We made small talk in our trips to and fro.
Head, she said, was a pumpkin—outside a shell
and inside pulp, just pulp. What is the prostate?
she asked. It is Adam’s factory to produce sperms
I said, Sperms, you know, are little . . .
Another time she said, he wanted my tresses
So, I gave all my hair to him. The nurse was not happy.
She had shaved my head and wanted to keep the hair.
She kept all shaved hair in a drawer with a name tag.
He wanted my hair but not my uterus. I had become
pregnant, but he said, nothing doing, kill it.
The baby will inherit cancer. Damn it, she said
I don’t want to talk about it.
If Winter Comes
 
The sperms get out of the prostate, she said
and then enter the uterus. Isn’t it?
Man gives and woman receives . . . but then she
gives back a thousand-fold, a live baby! Isn’t it?
Yes, I said, you are right.
We don’t have to pick anyone today but you,
the driver told me. It was the last day of my therapy.
He added a little sadly, she expired last night.
She left a note for you with the nurse.
You can take it from her, he added.
A scrawled note on a lab slip the nurse gave me
And then the elderly nurse looked quizzically at me.
I could read only two words. Prostate . . . Uterus.
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