Inside this tunnel, still and prone,
so enclosed and so alone,
I’m waiting in a well-lit tomb
or a cold and arid womb,
about to be, or done and was,
on hold to Muzak, this jack-hammered buzz
and now a ray-gun’s droning song.
Without my watch, can’t tell how long –
nine months, a flickering moment? – I’ve been
paused here in this in-between….
When my timeless time inside
is over and they slowly slide
the lid away, will I go forth
into Heaven or onto Earth?
They’ll be the same, my welcoming crowd,
but what will rock me – arms or cloud,
and will my voice be cry or mute?
Held tight, or released, will I float
into After or out of Before?
Either way, alone no more.
by Elise Hempel
Editor’s Note: This poem uses repetition and rhyme to convey the sense of confinement (both physical and mental) found within an unfortunately necessary medical device.