Alison by Ted Jonathan


Alison


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.