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  You could have a big dipper   

A Woman’s Keep by Chloe Cook

I woke up and my blood was orange. I tried to keep calm as I inspected my forearm, wrist, hand—sure enough, the veins underneath were like neon-orange licorice. I rolled over and kissed my husband on the cheek, and he said, “Mmfh.”

I quietly entered our Subaru, a vehicle made with love, and drove to Urgent Care. I sat in a green, squeaky chair not made for bodies like mine and waited.

“Charlette,” called a nurse.

I walked through beige halls and various medical posters warned me to get a breast cancer screening and to stop smoking. I sat in a tiny room, wondering about the other sick people who might’ve passed through.

“So, what’s going on today?” The doctor, male, said, rolling on his stool.

“My blood is orange,” I said.

“Hm. How did this happen?”

“I’m not sure, that’s why I’m here.”

“And how do you know your blood is orange? Did you cut yourself?”

“No, can’t you see it? Through my skin? Look closely.”

“Hm. Have you tried losing weight?”

My mouth gaped open. “Mm, I don’t know.”

“And how would you rate the pain, on a scale of 1-10?”

“7,” I said (he writes down 3). It’s pulsing so hard, as if I were standing too close to an amp during a rock show.

“Well, it looks like there’s nothing to worrisome here. I suggest picking up some over-the-counter Ibuprofen at the CVS next-door for the pain. I’ll want to see you again in a week if it doesn’t start to feel better. Sound good, Sherri?”


“Ah, right.”

The doctor, male, stood up and handed my chart to the nurse like it was a utility bill.

“This way, ma’am,” she said.

So, I left the office and went home, where my husband was awake.

“Hi babe,” he said, leaning in to kiss my cheek.


“Oh, you okay? You don’t look too great …” His eyes looked heavier than usual; he placed his palm on my forehead.

“You feel warm. Maybe you should go to the doctor.”


Chloe Cook is an undergraduate student attending Northern Kentucky University, where she is the Editor-in-Chief of Loch Norse Magazine. Her works are featured or forthcoming in Haunted Waters Press, Oakland Arts Review, Stoneboat Literary Journal, dancing girl press, and elsewhere.

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