Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Rapunzel, with Contrast
There are friendly metals and hostile metals.
—Primo Levi

Sometimes I wish I’d lost it all
as when in the hallway someone
searches along my hairline for telltales,
sizing up my health like a stone
that’s tossed in the hand for the heft
of it. Lighting sparklers in my eyes,
saying, Feeling fan–friggin’–tastic
shuts down further inquiry. Mostly,
they mean well, but sick talk bores—
like a drill into granite which leaves
sand and trenches for ants.

Nevertheless, my hair snugs me
like a cocoon and soothes in the cool
places where I wait with others,
drinking the cooled 900 mL
vanilla–flavored barium beverage,
as we prime ourselves for the big picture.

When the warm iodine begins to flush
my veins—skull to toenails—I feel it
first in my cheeks’ flush and then
in the nether regions—which gets me
thinking—until the voice from the bottom
of a titanium well begins its directives:
Breathe. Breathe out. Breathe
as I slide in the blue tube. In the window,
the technologists are watching.