Echo


I am on a gurney in a darkened room
having an echocardiogram. ‘Just
routine', ‘just to check', ‘just to be sure'.
You know what that is like.
I listen to the whooshing, squishing,
clicking and pinging while watching the
the blurry shapes of snow and shadows
on the monitor. I suggest to the tech
that she could get better reception with Cable.
She responds with a distracted grimace,
more grim concentration, and an
‘I can't believe what I am seeing' squint.
Well I'm not going to stay here alone.
I leave my body on the gurney,
that is all she needs anyway, and I go.
The whooshing, squishing, clicking and pings
have put me in a watery mood.
I am a humpback whale afloat
in a watery world within and without.
And the echocardiogram's noises seem
now to be a lonely song I think I know.
Or perhaps something I heard eons ago
while swimming in the endless ocean.
I think now I hear another's call
or perhaps an echo off a glacier wall?
Then all is silent, the test over and
now she is close to me looking concerned.
"Did you fall asleep?" Her fingers find my
wrist and stealthily check my pulse.
"I didn't think you needed me so I left".
Now she thinks I am a crazy person
so I add, "I thought I was a whale."
"Like Moby Dick", she says confused.

And I think of Ishmael and Ahab
and wonder if I will be the one lost at sea
or the one saved, found floating in the ocean.


Howard Kogan, Indian Summer, Square Circle Press, 2011.