The Doctor's Office

The Doctor's Office fascinated me with its primitive tools. There was the prototype speculum which surprisingly resembled other inspection tools within the glass case, like tools for exploring mouths. In general I suppose that body cavities need opening if you are to investigate their ailments. A poster on the wall listed the names of famous doctors of Montgomery County and there he was, Sims. Petra had finally found him. The museum tour guide didn't know of him, but here was tactile archival evidence of his experiments and his atrocities against slave women. Of course the women weren't mentioned. In a strange way though, Sims presence within the historical memory of the town of Alabama validated their existence, because he wrote down their names, I could know that to look through him I might find them, these absent women whose historical circumstances in some ways report my own history. My grandmother's mother was a South Carolina slave. The other parts of my family were free West Indian 'conch' people. Grandma Nash somehow emerged from underneath the scrawled name of Marion Sims as a potential life in the historical record of slave atrocities and women. This could be a breach in the historical record that might allow for her presence.

There they lay, the rusty tools encrusted. Layers of red history imbedded within them. I purchased a set of rusty keys from the little market in the museum; rusty keys that could open up a history of hidden pains.

----- Anita Gonzalez