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.