Ear plugs to temper
the sound. Two latches snap,
and a mask bolts over
head. The radiologist warms
your legs with a blanket, readies
your right arm for intravenous agents.
Prescribed fluid seeps contrast
through your spine and brain, a stream
cold as today’s April afternoon.
The room’s windows look
to a gaggle of birch—each limb braces
for the wind, branches naked
as you are beneath the patient gown.
Snow falls on exposed earth,
grass long dead, and you are slid
into the tunnel, surrounded wholly.
Magnetic fields begin their quiver,
atoms emit frequencies.
A series of pings and clicks
radiate in bat-like percussion,
an unquiet creation
of four hundred dissimilar images,
each one a snowflake—snapshot
of white against a cloud-dark sky.
Tara Ballard holds an MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and her poems have been published or accepted by The Southampton Review, Salamander, HEArt Online, The Pinch, Wasafiri, and other literary magazines. Tara Ballard and her husband have been living overseas for seven years.