Academic journal article TriQuarterly

You Could Have Been Me

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

You Could Have Been Me

Article excerpt

Just you walk out from that hospital air into the rasp edge of winter when trees look fresh as a black lace hem frayed in somebody's back seat.

Just walk out of the hospital, where grief is stripped and intricate as winter trees.

I was fresh out of the sonogram room where they tilted a sensor over and over a place in my breast. You could have been me there - a jacklighted deer hearkening.

Ultrasound, imperceptible to anyone but bats, will pass through liquid and bounce off solid as sonar reveals a torpedo. As it sees a malignant mass.

Doctors are whispering.

One looks over: You mind us talking? Talk, I said. Sing, if you feel like it.

I walked straight out of that hospital the moment the just-set-sun was casting a pearl shell over the city.

A man asked for change. I told him the truth. I was out of work.

God bless you, he said, come back tomorrow, I'll have money.

My sonogram film now stood packed in with a thousand others. When you rejoice, you forget the unspared ones.

You just watch that godlike blue between sunset and night, blue laced with underlight curving around the shoulders of the earth until it falls like a veil teased off. …

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