Friday, April 13, 2007

Mainlining

This poem is a souvenir of the day on which I became radioactive, taking a fractional dose of Chernobyl to set me up for a gallium count, an interesting procedure in which the radioactivity which has been injected into your body is used to take a series of photographs.

MAINLINING

This is the place where time escapes from pressure.Hours are soft slippers.There is no stress whatsoever.The woman who hits me upIs good at this, and knows it.The needle slides in nice,Without a whimper.It's painless."Itakunai?" she says.It doesn't hurt?"Itakunai," I say,Watching, with interest,The big glass syringe,The professional needle.The solid gray shoots home.Mainlining gallium,BecomingAn intimate client of the nuclear industry,I am, I think, at peace.In the absolute calm of the nuclear medicine departmentI feel completely at ease.But, on exiting,I find my geographies dislocated.The corridorsStumble into mazes.My fractured mapIs gaptoothed with abysms.I blunder as best I can,This way, that way,Must be a way out of here somewhere -Trucking through the basement levels,Looking for my life.

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