Under a Blood Moon, I Get My Brain Scanned


By Jeannine Hall Gailey

Between large magnets. A coyote crossed our path
on the way to the hospital, low to the ground.
The moon is red and menacing, the air

claustrophobic. The ER doctor hands me a diagnosis:
multiple sclerosis, probably there for years.
I try not to make a catastrophe movie

in my head. Instead of white matter lesions,
I picture dinosaurs and dragons, my brain fighting
to stay out of wheelchairs, out of the hospital,

to keep my hands and feet and mouth working,
to keep writing, my chain link fence of
neural sparks fizzling away. This is not the end,

though it may feel like one type of ending.
A bad moon rising. A diagnosis. A degree of uncertainty.
The small rabbits nibbling at the leaves of my dahlia,

leaving the stems dangling, ravaged,
just as these marks make my brain less whole,
full of holes, holy. The lights not quite extinguished.


Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She's the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World. She’s also the author of PR for Poets. Her web site: www.webbish6.com. Twitter: @webbish6.