The Shadows of the Body

My father came home
With a stack of X-ray films.
He went into his office and put them
Up, one-by-one,
In front of the light.
I sat behind,
Unnecessary,
And watched as the light formed
Bones and stomachs and necks.
Puzzle pieces glowing.
He called me over,
Look at this
Kid
He swallowed a coin.
See?
And there I saw a shekel –
Small circular shadow in the light.
But you wouldn’t know the currency
From the image.
I gaped as I imagined,
Which of my classmates was this?
My world was confined to my kindergarten.
If anything happened,
It must have been there.
A war, a holiday, a storm,
Confined to my nap-room.

Last week my father sat in his office,
In front of the computer screen
Glowing with bones and stomachs and necks.
He called me down to see,
Look at this
Woman
She swallowed a butter knife.
See?
And there I saw, with clear-cut precision,
The long shadow in the light.
But you wouldn’t know her reasons
From the image.
I gaped as I imagined
What that must have felt like.
What thoughts led her to this,
What fears.
A war, a holiday, a storm,
Confined to her mind.

/michal

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Pain Killer/Acceptor

Part One:
One of my organs hurts
Me from the inside.
I try to move, to show you where,
But you tell me to see a doctor.

Part Two:
I hold the pills
That He prescribed
Ever mighty, firm.
I take them slow, I take with food.
I wait for the pain to soften.

Part Three:
I sit, no pills.
Today I will breathe.
I approach the pain anew.
I sit, no pills.

/michal

We Search the Horizon

A painting with a quotation from the beautiful mind Dr. Rita Charon (specifically, her book Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness)

We search the horizon … seeking ways to recognize ourselves and those around us, yearning to place ourselves within space and time (and infinity), dramatizing our stuborn beliefs that life means something and that we ourselves matter.

Rita Charon Painting

/michal

Self-Diagnosing the Human Condition

I took my pulse
To my childhood home
To expose it to old smells.

I breathed into the spirometer
Checking for my capacity
To contain the world inside.

I left your thermometer of happiness
Under my tongue for too long:
It has dissolved
And the mercury is leaking.
I guess I’ll never know how
Exactly
I am doing.

I took an oral history
By talking to myself
And clarifying the words that I didn’t
Quite catch.
Could I repeat that last part?
Hmm.
And how long has this been going on?

I tried to measure myself
To know who I am,
To have a language to express it to others.
But the numbers have failed me
And I am left with broken instruments
And healing bones.

/michal