Echo (A Poem)

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.




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