I wonder, does the Queen have mammograms? Does she strip off her structured jacket, unbutton her pussy-bow blouse, unhook her brassiere, present herself naked to the looming machine? Is the technician allowed to touch the royal breasts, to clamp and mash and tightly squeeze, while the queen silently curses the man who invented mammograms?
Does the royal radiologist read her results immediately, do you think? Or does some minion phone the next day, summon her back, Just a few more pictures. Then, after the pictures, has she ever had the needle, the loooooong needle that pierces, probes, penetrates precisely the spot? Is the kindly nurse allowed to touch, while the Queen lies rigid (which she well knows how to do), to hold the royal hand, while the Queen whispers, I’m scared? Does the Queen phone the office for the day off? Or does she button up, buckle down, back to work? Does she phone her children, putting on the voice that calms a nation? Just a teensy weensy, not to worry.
Watching “The Crown” on TV, I wonder, does Princess Anne have mammograms? Does she ever phone the Queen to say, Just a teensy weensy, not to worry, Mummy? And does the Queen awaken that night, in her flannel nightie, in the midnight dark, to silently bless the man who invented mammograms?
Elizabeth Edelglass (she/her) is a fiction writer and book reviewer who finds herself writing poetry in response to today’s world—personal, national, and global. Her first published poems recently appeared in Compressed, Global Poemic and Trouvaille Review. Her fiction has won the Reynolds Price Fiction Prize, the William Saroyan Centennial Prize, the Lilith short story contest, and the Lawrence Foundation Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review. Her flash "Partial" was Highly Commended for the Bridport Prize. Twitter: @LizEdelglass