Saturday, October 31, 2009

Between life and death (by Suzie)

Tonight, some Pagans will celebrate Samhain, "a time when the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between the worlds to socialize with humans." Other cultures around the world also remember ancestors and departed loved ones at this time.

I work with sarcoma patients, many of whom have metastatic disease, and sometimes it feels like we inhabit the borderlands between life and death. To capture that feeling, I wrote the following poem, which was published in "Something Close to Beautiful: Poems of Disability" by the Inglis House Poetry Workshop. It describes a CT with contrast.


Scan me.
Can you read the dis-ease?
Drink will reveal me,
the white-chalk taste
lining a crime-scene body.

In goes the needle.
Shoot the dye into my veins.
Shoot the die; I’m on a roll.
I’m in a role.
Radiate me, read me,
an illuminated book.

I’m told, “Hold your breath.”
I think, “I have been.”
In the stillness I hear the whir
of a thousand wings,
angels dancing on the point of a needle.

Shadows and spots
mark my fate
on a film, just a film
between life and death.
I can see through it;
I can see the light behind it.