Banded with a paper bracelet, my wrist
now bears my name, D.O.B.,
double-decked numbers and a bar code.
Google Earth, I’m here–in a medical high-rise,
down from First Avenue, across
the street from Bed Bath & Beyond, in view
of the bridge that spans the East River.
Millions of dwellings lie on both sides,
but resist the urge to examine. Instead,
pull like a magnet towards my bar code
and arrive on the 9th floor, in the outer waiting
room. I hear my name; follow me
into the undressing cubicle, then the inner hub
where the gowned women wait,
paper bracelets shifting as fingers tap phones,
our communal dance
performed in place, eyes cast down.
Trace my passage into the ice locker
with its whirring machine and vice-grip,
back to the hall and into that dim
fluorescent room of trapped twilight. Hover near
as the sticky magic wand tracks
the body’s tundra across a screen.
Follow the white-robed tech
as she exits, but focus back on me.
Enlarge the image to woman lying on her back
in that last waiting room:
land of no known coordinates.
Maria Terrone is the author of the poetry collections Eye to Eye (Bordighera Press); A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press) and The Bodies We Were Loaned (The Word Works), and a chapbook, American Gothic, Take 2. Her work, which has been published in French and Farsi and nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, has appeared in magazines including Poetry, Ploughshares and The Hudson Review and in more than 25 anthologies. In 2015 she became poetry editor of the journal Italian Americana.