Birgit Ladwig, Berlin

Birgit Ladwig: magnetic symphony

the proband must be made aware
not to wear jewels, a watch nor glasses
as she passes
through the examination train,
advised to prepare
and drop down her hair and blouse,
pearl earrings and platinum chain.
in the mirror: lips and cheeks coloured rose

no metallic objects allowed in the body
they´d heat and cause burns
and bleeding from inside
I´m in safe custody
of a young male nurse
and hide
my distress that it is not in my power
to read but must lie still for a whole hour

technical devices attached to wrist and breast.
turned a patient I must rest
still on my back
on a white rack
that is pushed into the plane tunnel.
a voice commanding to close the eye
in the tight funnel,
do not try to pry

I am part of the national cohort,
a comprehensive medical study.
at random invited to participate
I approached the laboratory
housed in the white cement cube
an assistant met me at the gate
kept introductory preliminaries short
before he shoved me into the tube.

assured the magnetic coil
does no damage,
no spoil, no turmoil,
but generates the required corporal image.
I listen and rave
to the radio wave,
a variety of tones
muffled by earphones.

the medical scanner
in an orchestral manner
performs a percussion symphony,
magnetic resonance tomography,
high and low,
fast and slow,
forte piano,
adagio

longitudinal sections of the inner organ:
heart, lung, liver, kidney, brain,
the strong magnetic field
produces scientific yield
without pain
a fissure fracture in the skull pan,
an aneurysm not expected
may be detected

as in an aircraft the stewardess
asked me to draw a deep breath
to hold, and by the next command I expired.
this was boring, repeated
until I grew tired,
but not defeated
by the procedure
I volunteered to endure.

heard blood flowing in my veins
completely oblivious of the drippling rains
in the open university´s campus garden,
my enclosed corpus supervised by the
radiological warden.
how do the inner cavities look?
physical data add to a huge book
that may report on hidden diseases
but not reveal what pleases

my heart, stomach, cerebral function
in lively reality.
it is merely digital photography
taking the pulse of a picture.
on the brain-computer-interface
there is a fine black-white veil of lace
at this mysterious junction:
never ending adventure

the contribution to academic progress,
sixty minutes. I return to dress in the cabin
after the nuclear spin.
have I ever been more naked
than before this objective camera lens?
adhesive electrodes imprints on my bare chest
mark red the pale skin. I have made it:
personal information gathered is immense

though it cannot decipher
what it is that constitutes me
the individual symphony
a work of godly art
only one part of the national cohort
that comprises thousands more of these
creatures, each of them
an extraordinary specimen.

Berlin, 13 April 2015