“It’s really no bigger than a cinder.” The radiologist points at a corner of the film with his pinkie. A graduation ring, in need of a resizing, flashes rank. He doesn’t look my way.
Looks like Mt. Everest to me. I can’t scrape two words together, can’t say I know what a cinder is but have never seen or touched one, have never lived in a house with a fireplace, poked around in hot ash, danced with a prince, left a shoe on palace steps.
“I’ve never even been camping,” I offer. I’m a walking non sequitur. No wonder there’s a smudge on the x-ray. “Well, I have eaten s’mores but never outside, under stars, friends stick-poking at the fire, making sparks, fake-warring over burnt vs. lightly toasted.” I’m on a roll.
Eyes on me now. Mine close. I’m trying not to return to the dark side. I’ve been here before. Silence. A long one. I open one eye, wide, fix on the rectangle of black, of white, of grey lit up like Vegas.
“Looks pretty big to me.” A squeak. I’m back on track. I nod in his general direction, stand up, wobble out of the room, down airless hallways, out the hospital doors. I go to the store, buy matches, marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate bars. Oxygen. A tent.
Partout des Prunelles Flamboient (1888)
(Everywhere Eyeballs Are Blazing)
writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, Virga,
Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, London Reader, SurVision, Rogue Agent Journal,
Popshot Quarterly, South Shore Review, The Fortnightly Review, Gentian Journal,
Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, and elsewhere. A two-time Pushcart nominee,
she is also involved in animal advocacy.