Monday, 7 December 2015


twinkle twinkle little bat

I know what an ultrasound is
scoffs my Mother -  the nurse - on the phone 
Trying to sound not completely unoffended
My mind scrabbles to think when it might
have been invented
But then just stops wondering
It’s like sonar for tummies
The mysteries of the stomach revealed
Ghostly apparitions brought forth
By medical medium
Harnessing electronic apparatus
Now-a-days ectoplasm is applied post-fact
A ritual of remembrance
Of times when it was easier to fake it

You see
Yesterday my surprisingly long-legged son
Had lain on the vinyl, paper-towel covered couch
I had, initially sat at a distance
On the chair in the corner of the consulting room
Then coming to my senses
Moved to the chair by his side
The operator/ advanced radiographer/ specialist examiner
Asks him to pop undone his surprisingly long school trousers
The jell is applied
The transducer slides across the surface of his upset tummy
Signals are beamed back from the edges of the cosmos
To the screen by her side
There’s a lovely; liver
And look even dad can identify a kidney
Kidneys are easy to spot
Even in outer space

Last time I saw an ultrasound
I was looking at you I remark
Suddenly aware of the scalding self-consciousness
A slap in the face
As if you didn’t already feel like a specimen
Having obeyed all instructions
Not eaten for eight hours
Having drunk two pints of water
Dad then let you go to the loo
Moments before the technician calls you in
Now the bladder will be empty
Though she doesn’t dwell on my mistake
I see a flash of something like
Sheesh some people cross her face

So how do you become an ultrasounder I ask?
Impressed by her fluency at decoding
seemingly random patches of light
into bodily organs and a clean bill of health
Trained in x-rays then after a year in submarines
decided to make the logical leap
I fathom internally
But here I am by your side
Just as I had been at your mother’s
Boys are easy to tell
The operator had said then
Now you’re gathering yourself
Swinging around and sliding back down to earth
Onto your Rumplestiltskin
Surprisingly long legs
Thanks you say or was it bye
As you disappear behind a closing door
Back into the odourless air of real life

How I wonder where you're at

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