Counting Tiles

There are thirty two tiles
and two sprinklers in this room.
It is the third time
the technician has left and come back-
each time saying
she did not quite get the images she needed.

When I don’t count I think of my mother.
I think of how she was the same age I am
when she got her diagnosis.
Four years later she was dead.
Hers was pancreatic cancer.
They ask, over and over,
about my family history.
No genetic link.
I hold my breath and count tiles.

There are fifty four tiles
and four sprinklers in this room.
Again, I have been called back here
three times for the same thing.
Each time a little closer.
Each time, I hold the machine
and my breath and count tiles.

When I don’t count I think about the kids.
I think about how
even if I have to leave the world early
they will still have a mother to love them.
My heart shatters
and I wonder if it will show on the scans.
I hold my breath and count tiles.

There are sixty two tiles
and four sprinklers in this room.
I’m waiting for the doctor and counting.
I imagine it looks like a prayer
and it may be at this point.
I want them to tell me it is nothing.
That I will live longer than my mother did.
That my kids will not have to tell me goodbye.
That my love and I will grow old together
just as we promised.
I wipe my eyes, take a breath
and keep counting.

2 responses to “Counting Tiles

  1. This is so beautifully heartbreaking.

  2. Wonderfull meditation on meditation, our fragility, where we come from and where we’re going, and why those damn techs can’t just get it right the first time;)!

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