Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
After the Mammogram
Now that a pale algal smudge has been caught
in the net, faint against the black shadows
of my breast, a letter arrives: more images needed.
Look closer, cast a finer mesh
and the typed words wake me out of sleep
at four a.m., as if I were a carp dreaming
of the net, of being hauled out
of the shadows under the lilies, into light
that burns its fishy eyes, into air
that starves and smothers. Chill, I tell the fish,
its only a call-back, probably nothing.
But someone has cast a stone above me,
and I watch the ripples move across
the surface, erasing my view of the sky.
Susan Okie is a doctor, a poet, and a former Washington Post medical reporter. She received her MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College in January 2014. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, Passager, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Hospital Drive, Gargoyle and Cider Press Review. Her poem "Perseid" was chosen by Michael Collier as first-prize winner of the 2012 Bethesda Poetry Contest. Okie is a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at Georgetown University Medical School. She is married to Walter Weiss, a former medical school classmate, with whom she has two grown sons. Okie lives in Bethesda, MD.