Posts Tagged ‘mortality’

Stereotactic

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These machines would be softer
had their creators been women.

There would be less smashing,
for starters. Less smashing
and gentler needles.

In the waiting room you fidget
through piles of last year’s  glossy models
and wonder if this blonde ever dangled a breast
through a glory hole in an elevated table
like a Toyota awaiting tire rotation.

Yesterday on the phone, your doctor
avoided all words beginning with C
and instructed you, belatedly,
not to worry.

But the second that fuzzy-lipped nurse
pinned you in place with a well-practiced
look of pity, the moment she plied you
with poorly-written brochures
about procedures and tissue samples,
you bypassed worry and shortcut
straight to funeral planning.

The nurse’s voice, tuned to a level
statistically proven to be soothing,
turned to static before she even
got to the part about how calcifications
are “usually” benign.

In your head, you’re already malignant.
You’re already bisected and breastless.
You’re already ash.

It’s like that pre-dawn phone call
months ago warning of tsunami.
And though they swiftly chased it
with platitudes about low probabilities,
and the tide could barely be bothered
to rise half a foot, you had already seen how the wave
would hulk down on all those complacent roofs,
turning your haven into so much flotsam
polluting the slipstream.

Panicked and pajama-clad, you stuffed
the trunk with non-essential photo albums
and the long white box in which your
long white wedding dress lay entombed.
You scooped up your favorite boots and
tossed in a notebook of poems and drove
up the hill to the safe zone while your neighbors slept on
and woke calmly to their coffee mugs,
immune to overreaction.

Now you sit bared to the waist
in a sickly pink room and memorize
the letters you must write to your tiny daughter
about how she shouldn’t try to be popular
in high school, because it’s the nerds
who always turn out better in the end.

When they open the door smiling
with gauze and hollow needles
you begin to understand just how far
your body will go to betray you.

 

-Lo, who got the negative result today. And I mean “negative” in the most positively benign way possible. Happy ending and all that.

The Other Side

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

mood: visionary | drinking: new tea

nightbridge

October has, thus far, been a month of Happenings. I feel like we’re finally coming out the other side of months of upheaval and change. Certainty awaits.

Among the biggest of those happenings is the happy news that we close escrow on our new house next week. I can’t wait to get those keys in hand! Of course, after I get those keys  I’ll need to grab myself a paintbrush, too.

But it will be nice to have something to DO, finally, after all these months of waiting and wondering where we would end up. I’ve happily submitted my change-of-address forms to the P.O. too, because it makes it feel official. (As if signing a mountain-sized pile of loan documents doesn’t.)

Amidst all the good news this month there has been sad news, too. Last week an old friend of mine died. Her name was Heidi, and I have known her since we were 4 years old. We grew up together, carpooled to school together, rode bikes, walked our dogs, attempted to learn Spanish.

In high school, Heidi was in the cool crowd while I hung out in the front row with the other nerds. But she never made me feel slighted, and when we ended up at the same junior college for a year or so after graduation, we went nearly everywhere together.

Heidi married shortly after I graduated from college, and asked me to read a poem at her wedding. After I moved away I only saw her rarely, but kept up with her from a distance as she got her nursing degree and had two children. She was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago and survived.

But cancer reappeared earlier this year and claimed her life last Sunday. Her funeral was yesterday and I wasn’t able to attend, but my thoughts have been with her and her family these last few days.

I have only lost two friends my age so far in my life. Which is lucky, I know. But it’s still so strange to think of people around me suddenly not being there anymore. Mortality is a mystery to the living.

…I’m at a loss for a segue. I seem to just be rambling along here anyway.

Last weekend Boy and I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin headlands. We had no particular destination in mind, we just wanted to go somewhere, to be moving instead of sitting at home. We ended up high above the fog, in the dark, watching the clouds close in on the bridge down below.

And I thought, for the hundred millionth time, how happy I am to live here. And how lucky.

My parents fly in today from Illinois, so there’s a family reunion in my very near future. They’re bringing my Gramma Ruth with them, her first trip to California and her first time on a plane, I think since 1968.

Boy and I are in charge of bringing pies to the family festivities, so I’d best get off my duff and up in search of flaky crusts.

I’ll be back next week with a set of brand new keys.

-Lo, getting up and at ’em.