"The Crab in the Spindle"
Cary W. Tucker
I slide headfirst inside the huge machine,
And as the tunnel gears begin to spin,
A cushion presses up against my ears.
I feel the needle prick my elbow vein
But cannot see a clock to check the time
Nor move the mirror hung above my face.
What battle cry might I soon have to face
That issues from the mouth of the machine?
What if a second growth appears this time?
My water nuclei align and spin
As high magnetic fields surround each vein,
And then the scan begins to probe my ears.
My childhood cancer almost scorched my ears
And nearly froze the left side of my face –
A scar still glaring like a floral vein.
Back then, the major hospital machine
Pronounced with callous health profession spin:
Six months to live, and likely not more time.
Although Archangels kept my early time,
No Cherubim have whispered in my ears,
But now a set of ruby earrings spin
As Muriel reveals her pretty face
And gently slides me out from the machine
To plunge the contrast agent in my vein.
The young nurse swears as blood leaks from my vein,
Injects the gadolinium in time,
And rolls me back inside the dark machine.
Her oath could hardly reach my failing ears,
But no relapse was hinted on her face;
So I relax and watch the system spin.
My proton moments slow their lattice spin
As heavy metal courses through each vein.
The tumor once hid deep behind my face
Permitted me to live on borrowed time
As gamma radiation pierced my ears,
Emitted by the cobalt blue machine.
The Fates do spin a price with borrowed time,
A graven vein that wears my eyes and ears:
Each day, I face a debt to a machine.
Cary W. Tucker is a childhood brain tumor survivor (astrocytoma). The side effect of the cancer and treatment that has affected him most is severe hearing loss. After being a hearing aid user for several decades, he is now a binaural cochlear implant user. Aside from writing poetry, Cary has found that he also enjoys helping people with financial planning. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or CFP®.