Tara Ballard




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.