Biopsy

A weekly poem, read by the author.
June 18 1998 3:30 AM

Biopsy

To hear the poet read "Biopsy," click here.

Advertisement

Have I told you, love, about the experience
I sometimes had before I knew you?
At first it seemed to be a dream--I'd be in bed--
then I'd realize I was awake, which made it--
it was already frightening--appalling.

A dense, percussive, pulsing hum,
too loud to bear as soon as I'd hear it,
it would become a coil of audible matter,
still intensifying, so penetrating now
I was sure I'd tear apart in it.

I'd try to speak or shout to contradict it,
but its hold on me was absolute,
I was paralyzed; then, my terror
past some limit, I'd try again, this time
I'd moan aloud, and it would stop.

Trembling, I'd come to myself, as,
the night of your tests, I came shuddering
awake, my fear for you, for us both,
raging more terribly through me
than that vision of annihilation ever did.

I felt I was in that desolate time before you:
I couldn't turn to you for reassurance
without frightening you, couldn't embrace you
lest I wake you to your own anxiety,
so, as I had then, I lay helpless, mute.

... The results were "negative," you're fine,
now I can tell you of those hours in which
my life, not touching you but holding you,
not making a sound but crying for you,
divided back into the half it is without you.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

How Moscow’s Anti-War March Revealed One of Russia’s Deepest Divides

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.