The Million Women Minus One

I’ve lost their latest questionnaire, along

with its covering letter, thanking me for my

previous entries which have informed

their research so they could inform me of all

the risks I have taken, based on my consumption

of alcohol, twenty years of smoking

 

and the size of my waistline. I remember

filling it in; sealing the freepost envelope –

would anyone return it if it wasn’t free?

I remember seeing it on the front seat

of the car – a reproachful shade of white,

waiting to be posted, its later disappearance

 

a mystery. That they will miss my data is certain;

how else will they know that a woman of my age

can still be sexually active; though her liver

may be ballooning in secret, or becoming sclerotic,

and her brain about to atrophy on more

than the recommended units per day?

 

I want to throw a party and invite all the other

million women who simply break

every rule and rejoice; who lose the damn

questionnaire down the backs of their sofas;

who bin it without even bothering to fill it out,

who leave it behind in their lovers’ cars.

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