Here are two poems. Read them both and you will know what I made of a recent experience – a bone scan.
In this procedure I was injected with a radioactive tracer and then scanned several times – though the purpose of the scan was to diagnose my broken foot, they do a whole-body scan as well.
I don’t mind saying it was somewhat unnerving. For one thing, there is the task of enduring some close quarters for part of the scan. For another, I had the opportunity to see a picture of my entire skeleton, the one I’m still using.
The experience required some kind of thought devoted to it. That’s what these poems are.
Thanks for reading them.
nose pointed at the sky.
The sky crept forward and covered
my view now reduced to a grid of
sky too close. No escape
for me in this between earth and pressing-down-sky space.
Like a letter folded into an envelope
just fitting and then sealed shut.
Like clothes tailored to my body
and then sewn on.
No escape. Something else decides now.
I stifle panic I had not expected
close my eyes and envision
some breathing space and
slowly I breathe.
The sky edges away a fingernail-width at a time
peering into all my secrets
all the way to the middle of my bones
where I keep them.
Take in radioactivity and see yourself
as you will be when you are dead
flesh gone and your skeleton in perfect shape
if that happens to be the way things work out.
The technician believes he is helping to diagnose your broken foot
but you know
you are being presented with a glimpse of the future
if you are interested in knowing such things.