Poetry: Ultrasound

I picture her exhausted, drained, snoring
beside her snoring husband, breathless at times,
waking in fits in the dead of night

to wander the darker rooms,
leafing through a blue book of names
her mother left on the kitchen counter,

then groaning back up the hardwood stairs
for the last precious hours of rest
before the next day pushes her along,

before the bells of the 5:30 alarm,
before the cold air waiting to bite when she opens the shower curtain,
before the black drip coffee, before the blueberry yogurt,

before the kiss goodbye that doesn’t last long enough,
before the lone cough in the subway car,
before the frown of the security guard

who hands out plastic badges and points her toward the basement
where she stands beneath fluorescent lights,
signs her name, the day, the time, and admits aloud—I’m here,

I’m here. I need to see the doctor.

I smooth the cool clear gel
gently in small circles
over her stretched and tired body,

and above the thin prism
that separates me from her paper white skin,
I press down gently with the small gray wand

that speaks for me, pauses
to listen to itself, thinks for a moment,
and only then shows me

the black and white echoes of a nearly round head,
the quiver of the heart,
the cord reaching across two worlds

sharing two body heats, sharing the winter air,
sharing a black coffee, sharing the same letters
of another new story, and sharing a brief scene with me.

As I begin to speak, the static shushes impatiently.
Snow falls, and we look at the white screen—hush;
close your eyes,

and I’ll show you again.

-Vikram K Sundaram, [PANK] Magazine

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