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Image via Wikipedia

Still Life with Bone Scan

She is smaller than
she’ll be smaller still,
aging into herself,
erasing her self.

The doctor’s
at the door,
in his hands, an analog
of her.
It’s smaller still—
this negative image,
this paper doll—
her skull coyly tilted
to one side, defenseless,
her arms stretched wide.

Hiding, the tumor—
benign but not benevolent—
in what he called
“a symbiotic kinship
with the brain.”

How far removed, this
milky miniature, this flattened
pattern of a mother?
How far removed
from she who strode
through rooms in
Sicilian joy or aggravation,

who posed on the DeSoto’s hood—
perfectly manicured and coiffed—
an elegant arm draped
over my father’s shoulder,
smiling at the camera?

Sorrowful mother,
small amid the chalky sheets,
(the wires translating
each heartbeat onto a screen,
yet another analog)

the fact of her life
as lines on a graph.