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Poetry: "Smashing, Smashing, Smashing (not a fashion statement)" by Mary Kay Knief

It’s that annual visit

no woman wants to make.

But, there she is, half naked,

facing the machine

again, helpless as it

mauls her body.

It’s a strange way to treat

a living, breathing woman.

When it’s over, she goes home,

waits for the usual letter

that says “All’s well.”

Instead, much sooner,

a phone call:

“We want you to come back.

Can’t tell you why.

Don’t come for a week.”

She’s afraid, near tears,

imagining the worst.

Late at night, lying

next to her sleeping

husband, she’s wide awake,

thinking of friends

called back,

no longer here.

She faces the monster again.

It responds

grabbing on and smashing,

smashing, smashing.


Smashing, Smashing, Smashing, 

“Can you take more?

Just a little?

Hold it, hold it.

Okay, breathe.”

Next, kinder machines

are called. She watches

the screen to see the tiny invader


She’s back in a week

when they suck out its contents,

find a run-of- the-mill nothing,

pronounce all well.

Resting under warm blankets,

she almost falls asleep.

Then, it’s “Up, up, up.

Take it easy at home.”

They walk her to the front door,

stand there waving good-bye

just like her parents at Christmas.

“Come back next year.”

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