Thirty-one years almost
to the day minute second
I enter the tunnel again,
though it is not my mother’s
body but a white machine,
humming and cold. I have
removed my chains. I have
been recorded as a series
of digits and forms. I must keep
my head stone-still as magnets
slam around me, siren-loud.
Metal climbs my veins.

Something looks into my head,
recording my mind in pools
of shade, searching for death
in the bloodless dark. The brain
is intricate as an orchid. Inside
the dura mater, thick folds curve,
hiding feathery structures, rice-like
flecks that orchestrate sight,
speech, the silent release of an egg.
Something splotches the centre
of mine. No one can touch it. It is
more difficult to reach than the heart.

I have wanted to tunnel back
to the warm nothing of not
being, away from the shock
of light. I have shrunk from
the things I’ve been given.
But does my body harbour death?
Can it hide like a child
in a darkened room?
In the close tube I hang,
breathing. Soon I will
emerge and blink,
try to adjust to the light.