Laying on the operating table
Wrists velcroed to narrow platforms
Horizontally crucified, I can’t even waive
An electronic monitor stridently beep! beep! beep! beeps!
Chirping out a steady heart rhythm for the performers -currently, only an audience
They waived and murmured their hellos when I was wheeled in
On the far wall, a giant video monitor
Cycles through calming nature scenes
High tech LED lighting blasts straight down in my eyes,
Military-grade search light sits waiting with the others
I have to lift my head to see the monitor- maybe it isn’t meant for me
Beep! beep! beep! goes the monitor
I think back to the physician office
“Don’t Panic,” he said – which, of course, sent me into a momentary panic
Heart in my mouth
Immediately realized I mustn’t mention anything to my family
Last thing they need these days is panic about “probably nothing” murmurs
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Later I was staring at the monitor of an echocardiogram,
Live-action video of my own heart beating right there on the screen
Sucked-into twenty minutes of tentative hypochondriac dread
Is it supposed to look like that!?
Doppler colours, graphs, and those nauseating, broken-looking valves
Waving broken tentacles
I refused to look into the technician’s face
Refused to search for confirmation of panic in a murmured observation
The world has already dopplered-up too many echoes of dread
Too many events, too many situations leaving me
Waving my arms and saying “This isn’t the way it should be!”
Too often I have observed and only partially understood.
Finally they slip a small plastic mask, tinted a faint glass green, over my face
And recommend that I breathe deeply while that fucking machine beep! beep! beeps!
And I recall that this whole thing was delayed to obtain murmured doppler observations
And I think, faintly, like an echo, that I still don’t know if it should be like that
And that monitor just goes steady Beep! Beep! Beep!
Because, later, I will be there for my family.