Listening to John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ while getting an MRI for cancer screening by Alex Stolis

Listening to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme while getting an MRI for cancer screening

There’s no pummeling rain but I can feel it beat
against the machine; when I was a boy, thunder
storms were magical,

a whip-crack of words would break the spell in two.
Then quiet; a thick and heavy fear that immobilized
everyone and everything.

It’s the end of summer already but there will be no
planning for next spring; only the promise of a long

and at least 135 days worth of sterile suns followed
by ambiguous moons. We’ve loved temporary
like Achilles; short, sharp,

an ecstasy of reason. We’ve loved truly, madly,
and deeper than the wine dark sea; we’ve gone
our separate ways and back again.

Love is the bite of an apple, a flash of blue
sky punctuated by a murmuration of starlings,
it’s the final breath on a sliver of glass.

The rain that isn’t rain stops, the rumble
of thunder from the MRI drowns out Coltrane’s
Psalm; I close my eyes and wait for silence.

by Alex Stolis

Editor’s Note: This poem’s allusions and imagery form an emotionally descriptive narrative of a life well-lived in the midst of uncertainty.


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