Sunghwan Yoon CC
Mom’s Last CT Scan
Everything is backwards, horizontal slices
flipped: on the right monitor her left lung
fills with lesions that show white,
airways, black. Liquid, like two grey half-moons
inside each lung, invades soft darkness.
There is nothing soft
about severing –
as her results filled the screen
threads to our future were cut.
Her darkness shrinks each month,
white expands against her chest wall,
close to the rib, where I once rested:
newly tied to her breathing,
the strong beat of her heart.
Today a film seems to cover the sun,
Our two bodies submerged in shadow.
Today, it seems we must speak in gentle voices,
talk of death on familiar terms, like someone
who suddenly finds alarms irrelevant,
has no need to scrub the sink.
I need to shout about living – the roses
on her patio and the stories she has yet to tell;
about her home where she will die,
the vacancies opening in my life,
about the months of Saturdays
at her table, paying her bills.
My eyes paid
on cheek bones,
that thin membrane
that once separated
me from her raw
bone and blood,
from the hollow
inside, where I
want to hide again.
But the light
is pushing me out.
If I place my feet on the floor
I will walk into this day.
If I open my eyes
I will see her hands:
gravity sucking water out of skin,
collapsing cancer-riddled bones.
I wish I were night leaning down
to touch her eyes closed:
in her bedroom I smell loneliness
on father’s frayed wool bathrobe:
the one she’s worn since his fall.
Margaret Anne Kean received her BA in British/American Literature from Scripps College and her MFA from Antioch University/Los Angeles. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in poems.for.all.com, Eunoia Review, Drizzle Review, EcoTheo Review and Tupelo Quarterly. She is collaborating with a Portland, Oregon composer to set a tanka series. Kean lives in Pasadena, California.
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