The ‘Gfit’

by Nicole Callihan

Nicole Callihan

Those mornings, early in the pandemic,
when I was still a stranger to muting myself
and did not yet have a dog, did not yet
not mind picking up poop, which I thought
I’d mind but don’t, but then, when I knew nothing
of what I would know, or what I now think I know,
though now it’s probably mid-pandemic, even if
I’d like to believe it’s the end of the pandemic,
but then it was early in the pandemic,
even though I thought maybe it was getting
towards the end of the pandemic,
and I didn’t have cancer, or if I did,
I didn’t know I had cancer, and I knew
fewer dead people, and had received far
fewer flowers, fewer gifts, and my children still felt
like something I could manage, or not manage,
but simply delight in, and so, oblivious, I’d walk along
the dock by the boats, hoping for a boat
with a perfect name. It’s not that I was a stranger
to myself. I’d stand naked sometimes. Unanchored,
sure, but not actually disappearing. When I turned 40,
my mother sent me a birthday card which read,
Welcome to invisibility. None of the boats
had perfect names. They were called Midas,
or Improbable. One was Last Light, which seemed
close to perfect, but I sort of wanted it
to be called First Light, tho that sounded like
a church song or a midwestern breakfast chain.
After the surgery, when my nipple fell off
in the shower, it washed down the drain.
Jen had written, wanted to send me something.
This was December. Oh shit, I wrote back,
one of my nipples just fell off. LOL. I had always
sort of taken my nipples as birthright,
had fed my children with them. Now, though, I wish
I’d done a wet t-shirt contest in Cancun.
Maybe there’s still time! I’ll get on my boat —
post-pandemic, post-treatment, post-haste, post-hope —
and wave at everyone on the shore. I’ll leave
everything behind. You’ll have to take out
binoculars to see my nipples are gone and to read,
in deep blue cursive, the misspelled name of my getaway boat.

Last updated December 21, 2022