Brain MRI, November 2012

Lie down on the MRI table; they’ll lay a sheet over you

like you’ve already died. And when you begin to shake,

the sheet moves with you in a gentle dance of fear, as they block

your head in, snap the cage around your face. Don’t move,

they say, and you will your body to stop its shake. Your head

is still because they’ve trapped it. The table slides deeper

into the glowing tube, swallowing you up like medical prey, and all

you do is close your eyes, hold your breath, and listen

to the sounds of a machine predicting your future.

Because you are trapped, and scared, cold and alone,

you let your mind go, and it travels back to summer days on the farm,

riding horses, raising lambs, stacking hay bales in the sun,

but it follows with a breath grabbing squeeze, remembering days

of being forgotten, left alone, rejected. You are still shaking.

As the machine scans your brain for tumor growth, your head

scans your mind, for joy and love, for when you listened and grew,

created. But it always follows with the haunt of a face, someone

you hurt, or let go. And you are sorry.

The machine stops its banging for a moment. The mind rests.

And then it begins again. It says sunsets are numbered. Are you living

every one? All of the stories you were meant to engage in are not told.

You have a full heart and a broken brain, and you still have not

written down all of the words. You shake, lift off the table, hover in the air.

You’re looking down on the machine holding your body below. Music.

Floating. Voices. Go where you are needed. Love with all you are.

Be light. Believe. The machine goes still, and they pull you out.

The test is over. You already know the results.