oh how the body plays tricks! signs and symptoms that i try and
fail to read. they tell stories of conflicting causes and reactions,
and, frankly, i'm never quite sure why my breasts ache.

that day in the sun with family and friends, and all i can see are
the bulging bellies that announce my demise and raise my blood
pressure. i look for omens and count to five, seeing madonnas on
every corner.

seventeen years on earth and my past four have been segmented
into a reoccurring anxiety of twenty-eight days - the past few con-
tradictory months equally hoping for and dreading the stain on my
new panties.

              visit the bathroom again and again.
              make a trip to the pharmacy and hide the pee stick inside
              the pages of the teenie mag.
              avoid the stares of the elderly.
              suspicious back pain?
              neurosis surrounding unexplained weight gain.

either way it turns out, i can't escape expecting.

About the Poet

Named after a soap opera star, Tiffany Ball was born in Dalton, Georgia. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia and will pursue her PhD at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the fall. Her poetry is influenced by the images in her everyday life.