17 April 2011

Infant X-Ray

She’s already ill,
Feverish, and dehydrated.
She’s sat still
Through icy cold stethoscopes
And pin pricked toes.
Dressed and undressed and dressed again.
Now, it’s off to Medical Imaging.
Radiology must have become archaic.
Another pen to fill another form.
Another waiting room,
And she is sick.

When I do enter,
I wish I hadn’t.
“Her buttons will interfere
With the picture.”
Undressed again.
And I’m staring at the seat,
The tiny, little saddle.
I hear her crying.
It hasn’t stopped.

 I read the word
Etched across the implement.
“Sit her down,”
As the technician hands me lead armor.
I don’t want to wear it.
“If she gets irradiated, so do I!”
I wish I said it, but instead,
“Which side is the front?”
As I lower her wiggly diapered bottom
Toward the saddle.

“Hold her arms up”
Instructs the technician
As she clamps two
Baby-shaped forms of plexiglass
Snugly around my terrified girl.
Fear is easy to distinguish in her screams.

“We get a better picture if she cries.”
And the technician disappears to her control panel

First, an explanation of why I am posting my day 16 poem for NaPoWri month on the 17th day. I was sick and in bed all day. That's a pretty goo excuse, huh? Now, the poem. This is a poem that I started a year or two ago.  I turned into a completely different poem, Incidental X-Ray. I wrote it after my 6 month old daughter had a chest X-Ray. It was an absolutely horrible experience. This poem is another very personal one, and it's also different because it is a straight narrative. It's basically a biographical story. Anyway...


  1. First, I hope you feel better soon. Second, it was very interesting reading your 2 x-ray poems one after the other. Though both excellent poems, Infant X-Ray, I feel, is so much more intimate and emotionally resonant. Maybe because my daughter had to go in to the hospital for kidney tests when she was about a year old, I can really feel the anguish in this one.

  2. Thanks, Mouse. It was my 2nd daughter. I thought I had toughened up a little. I was pretty much wrong. When you can relate so personally to a piece, it may sway, it may bias you to its true quality.
    I'm sure I'll be back to normal in a few days. Think it's just a bad cold. Thought I was pretty much better today, but night time came and reminded me that I'm still sick.