And so it begins, again,
that urge to shrink from
the cool touch of machines;
the hushed offices,
the looks of concern,
the competent compassion.
Maddening, imprecise precision–
“the blood test found something, we
need to do more tests…..
something’s there
on her scans…”
a blurry, thicker patch there,
spots on bone, lung, breast, too.
Interesting words,
“a few places lit up,”
that shouldn’t have,
like flying at night over
isolated ranches
in Wyoming, aglow
in the darkness below
with a deceptive warmth.

The needles
and knives,
the gowns,
sensors, drips, monitors,
paper and plastic–
the whole enveloping system,
circling, probing, injecting,
sampling, testing, tasting
a body for disease
like a benevolent, curious,
implacable octopus,
Sorting unknowns from the known,
translating the chemistry
of death and life
into columns of numbers,
leaving it to others to
understand, to face
the ugly chasm between,
where we wait,
naked and afraid, to
learn how it will be to
live. Or not.

And so it begins.

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