Honeycombing, the doctor says,
and for an instant, I let myself
rest in what I love about that word,
sticky textured golden noun turned verb.
But the world he’s leading us through
on the nightscape CT scan is inside you,
the two crucial islands, your lungs.
This, he tells us, is healthy tissue,
dark sky barely flecked with stars.
And this, tapping the line
of a lacy shore, scars.
I remember the first time
I made out our boy’s profile
on a cloudy screen like this,
tiny nub of thumb between
what would become his lips.
Back then, I saw myself
as standing on a precipice,
knowing that when I dropped
I would fall toward life.
But this, you and I
under the buzzing glare
of such harsh light,
it’s life too, isn’t it? I’m asking
this of both of us. Stay.
Notice the heat in our held hands.
Ona Gritz’s poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Bellevue Literary Review, Catamaran Literary Reader, One Art, and many other journals and anthologies. Her books include Geode, a finalist for the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, Present Imperfect: Essays, and August Or Forever, a middle grade novel forthcoming in February 2023. Recent honors include two Notable mentions in The Best American Essays, a Best Life Story in Salon,and a winning entry in The Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2020 project. This poem first appeared in One Art.