Saturday, June 24, 2006

Her Life in the Shadows

The X-Ray

The vet lit the x-ray films
on the plexi-glass screen,
and there it was--
her endoskeleton glowing
electric white like a neon sign
against the black film background.
Posed as if in flight, wings expanded
up and out, her bones looked like tiny
matchsticks, bent perfectly
at each cartilage joint like boomerangs.
I squinted at the light of her bones.
She was a dinosaur skeleton,
and they had just excacated her,
dug her up from some heap of earth.
Her body was fused into rock,
the fossilized bones carved out carefully
with special tools until the white chipped bone
shone through like teeth. But as the vet
used her pencil to point out the liver,
explained how it was enlarged,
how it pushed up on the stomach
and crowded the lung sacs,
I finally saw her life in the shadows--
the gray orb of her organs frozen
in their beat and pulse,
the rush of blood and adrenaline
paused midstream in her veins,
her voice box caught
in one squaking moment of vibration.

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