Blue Sky MRI

Courtesy of Julie Morrissy.

they leave me in a lino-cubicle
another bargain blue basket
for my bra and jeans
I pace behind the curtain
let the liquid settle

the doctor tells me to take off my coat
I need a canula and we are
ten minutes behind schedule
he says I can’t go to the bathroom and I feel
like I’m in school again
when a nurse notices me shivering
I put my coat back on
the doctor inserts the needle
little pinch
takes it out         unused
forty minutes later
when they realise I am allergic
to the contrast

there have been other blue baskets this year
at the breast clinic
other days when I shivered in a gown
with smiling women
tea and biscuits
accordion curtains dancing in the stillness
of another disease detection unit
breasts and torso squeezed and flattened
little pinch
and you’re back on the street

they say I’ll hear instructions in the tube
through the headphones
please breathe in
there’s a blue sky painted on the ceiling
and the room feels calming until
please breathe out
you realise
please breathe in and hold your breath
you can’t see the ceiling from inside the tunnel

I jerk-slide in increments
reminded on each movement
     please resume breathing
     please breathe in and hold your breath

Julie Morrissy is Poet-in-Residence at the National Library of Ireland, and an NEH Fellow at the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her first collection Where, the Mile End is published by Book*hug (Canada) and tall-lighthouse (UK).

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