As the tech applies cold gel
to my neck for the ultrasound test,
summer fun of 20 years ago runs
behind my eyes. The highlight,
a week-long getaway to Virginia Beach.
Sex and more sex, the salty-scent
headiness and savage beauty
of the vast ocean, moonlight boat rides …
Whatever she wanted to do—sightsee,
poke around antique shops, attend
a timeshare sales presentation, I’d do.
Half an hour of probing
my throat, and knowing the exam
would soon end, I recall something
that I had never given a second thought:
Alison was an ultrasound tech.
Shortly past Labor Day, crying,
she broke up with me. I didn’t ask
why. I didn’t know if she was crying
because she’d miss me, or feeling bad
because she made me feel bad. No matter.
Her tears were arousing. I made my move.
She turned away. “That’s not gonna make
things better,” and walked me to the door.
Before exiting the room, the tech
tells me to wait right there. Dread
in my heart and head heavies
my feet. If there is no sign of disease
they say you can leave. They’ll call
you in a week. Waiting means a doctor
will make an appearance. The one
word you’ll hear is recurrence.
If Alison were here,
would she have recognized me?
Would she have delivered the bad
news herself, stayed with me
as I waited for the doctor?
Would she have cried? I do know
that nothing would have made it any better.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Ted Jonathan currently lives in New Jersey. His latest poetry collection RUN was published by NYQ Books (2016). He’s almost finished with the MS for his next collection Unholy Melodies.