Pennies From Heaven

by Ann Hudson

What better way to spend an hour
on this last day of May
than in the white tunnel
of the Magnetom, manufactured
in München, Germany in 2012
by Siemens. I stare at the sticker
and play with all the letters—
semen, mess, mine, immense, sin
while the sonic wash machine thrums
and hammers around me. Kelly,
my tech, checks on me every so often,
and tells me I’m doing great. Her voice
is thin but comforting. All I’m doing
is nothing much at all, except trying
to hear the music through the headphones
which isn’t classical but someone’s
idea of classical if they don’t in fact
listen to it: acoustic piano covers
of standards. I can pick out
Love is Here to Stay, They Can’t
Take That Away From Me, and
Someone to Watch Over Me.
God is a metaphor. My father
is dead. What’s left of him is a box
of ash in a wall in a cemetery behind
my mother’s house. He does not
peer over the puffy edge of a cloud
and peek in on his family and friends,
responding to the chime of our weeping,
our fond remembrances on his birthday,
our visits to the stone etched with his name.
He does not watch over me as I am dipped
into this hammering river of magnets
and sound, this whirring, pulsing tube
that is imaging the inside of my body:
my bones, my tissue, the stones
of my remembering, the stones
of my forgetting, which I balance
one by one by one as carefully as I can.

Ann Hudson’s first book, The Armillary Sphere, was published by Ohio University Press.  Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Orion, Crab Orchard Review, North American Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere.  A senior editor for Rhino, she teaches at a Montessori school in Evanston, Illinois.