After Anchorage IV

Joan Naviyuk Kane
of gadolinium, November-veined, copper on the tongue
            & summoning sleep & ether though wide-awake
after click & whir & click again of excision & extraction 

& artery notched & every hand in the dim back room
            summoned to press the bloodied breast to bone
& told to find calm & stay calm & O type O negative

& calm & fuck the radiologist who would remember 
            the day years after, bumbling mutters   
& with whiskey-thick fingers on black Friday & routine

gone awry & no luck for transfusion & hours later
            to be wheeled out into the familiar lobby to my 
children’s father & my father who, terse & inconvenienced

would warn me off from flying the next day & the next
            through Seattle & de Gaulle & landing bleary at Boryspil
& to blur through birch woods, woozy still, & sore

& o sour viburnum opulus & o ash & ache to come 

Copyright © 2023 by Joan Naviyuk Kane. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 6, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.