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.