Sunday morning you will not be at Mass
but at the ophthalmologist’s office.
More than the chart, the two foot tall E
you can see clearly when you open
your left eye, you will hate the finger test.
How many fingers am I holding up?
the doctor will ask. How many
now? Monday afternoon
an MRI: the camera clicking will sound like
a lawn mower roaring beside your skull
or techno. You will remember
raves, beach-ball-sized nitrous balloons
carried above the roller rink crowd. Tuesday
you will know
the look on your face from the look
on the doctor’s face, a mirror
with a skipping record.
After the IV insertion
you will paddle motionless water
at the Skokie Lagoons on an overcast day
till smelling salt elbows you in the forehead.
What’s your name? Where are you?
the nurses will yell. You will remember
standing in an unlit bathroom chanting
Bloody Mary. At night you will lie
in bed unable to think about anything but
the catheter in your wrist. Though hidden
beneath a bandage you will feel it
under your skin, in your vein,
at every moment you will know
it is there. You will remember
Ghost in the Graveyard,
Catch One Catch All
summer nights. When the spike
is removed you will feel cured
though a phantom limb itch will haunt you
for weeks. You will remember Seven Minutes
in Heaven, friends gathered around you,
their middle & index fingers beneath
your body, their voices repeating
Light as a feather, stiff as a board.
Lesions, scars, plaques
you have heard called
the white blotches—
you will be thinking
while the neurologist quickly clicks
the mouse, images switching
so fast it looks like
a feeding hummingbird.
You will not be thinking of
an inkblot that simultaneously portrays
a bat & two faces approaching for
a kiss, you will not remember
your optical illusion
science project: the young woman’s profile/
the crone’s face. You have always wondered
what doctors see when they look in
your ear, your nose, your throat,
but seeing your brain,
the consciousness you cling to
so tightly, reduced to
a clump of tissue,
you will be on the verge of vomiting.
You will live, will not die
even if you choose not to
inject yourself every day
forever. You will remember
your heroes were intimate
with needles. Under Depression
the Medication Guide will state
Some patients have thought about or
have attempted to kill themselves.
Feeling as though you are
crowded around your parents’
living room watching yourself
on super 8, you will stay home
from the party & rent horror movies.
Skin littered with injection holes
like the mouths of volcanoes,
you will remember your heroes
committed suicide as you watch
hosts of the undead, blood
dripping over their chins,
terrorize the living.