Friday, January 6, 2012

Don’t Ask Why

We’re going in through here, he says
with a Neil Armstrong drawl,
pointing to a wall chart
of the lower digestive tract.
…up the sigmoid and descending colon,
through the transverse, then
down the ascending colon.

Nothing contradictory about that, I think,
just four small steps.

Yes, at moments like this,
lunar dust lazes against the slopes of rocks
never before trekked; nebulas remain
unfathomed and quasars unseen.
Here, though, sandblasted by a punch bowl
of polyethylene glycol and salt,
he will see across distant, soft linings
with a myopic pipe of flexible fibers
that beams light to elbow images
back to an eyepiece, milli-seconds away.

We’ll take some biopsies, he adds.
…probably just pseudo-polyps anyway.
And I’m turned on my left side,
sporting a hospital gown 
made for such occasions.
Two tubes bullwhip from my nose,
the I.V. probing my right arm
erases both sensation and memory.

This is something like self-mockery: 
life is a hoax, a gift marked by chance
explorations and clichés. Look,
there are black holes sucking light out there
and galaxies exploding at warp speed!
May the force be with you,
I murmur before the light goes out.

“Don't Ask Why” was originally published in Mediphors, 1993.

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