Alexandra van de Kamp


Nothing like a little x-ray
to tilt the world straight. The human body
more compressible than we care
to imagine as the technician squeezed
my breast in place and asked me not to breathe
for the duration. Nothing like suspended
breath to make you think. The world,
on a good day, a serene geometry
of trees and swerving roads, and the breasts:
two thick clouds curving clumsily
against the chest, a kind of weather inside
their gingerly-arranged globes—a kind
of snow falling and falling across the
x-ray film, (no Greta Garbo here,
sighing in the 1930’s washed-out light
of her Grand Hotel), but a terrain
the radiologist caresses
with her eyes and mind. Not for me
the dark cube of the radiologist’s
room (so like the projectionist’s booth
except this story includes you). Dr. Price
was the one (as if the universe
were having some fun) who set me free,
gave me the okay for another year.
It was December, the sky swirling
like a milky cup of tea, the roads
darkened by a recent, and now melted,
snow. Was it relief I felt? Or a certain jilt,
the close-call of it all just a little
too close? I drove out of the parking lot,
signaled to take a right, and hesitated,
watching the traffic thrumming by.    

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