A shattering silence. And then the crude language
of machines. Lying on the table I am flat as the table.
I am lying. The body was born to obscure, to commit
by its being the sin of omission. What blue floats inside
of it, an interior of sky as unseen as the seen. When
the doctor says turn, I turn. My body follows.
The doctor is a technician. His language is calm metal
coiled as tightly as the coils that thrum through their work
above myself. Into my self. When Röntgen discovered the x-ray
he saw it first as a shimmer around his wife and her body. Then
inside his wife. She was her body and her body was
as visible as any hand. And then her hand became
a curled white cumulus of bone lit against the grisaille
of silver salts on a glass plate. I have seen, she said, my own
death. It gathered in the spaces and not-spaces inside
of her, then on the film that revealed her self to herself
as light, which was no longer a metaphor. Which is what we use
to see. There is an I inside every I. There is a shadow, a sea.
Emma Bolden is the author of two full-length collections of poetry — medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016) and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013) – and four chapbooks. A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best American Poetry and The Best Small Fictions as well as such journals as The Rumpus, TriQuarterly, StoryQuarterly, The Pinch, Prairie Schooner, Conduit, and Copper Nickel. She serves as a Senior Reviews Editor for Tupelo Quarterly.