Two Poems by Jennifer Lagier

Stanford Appointment

It’s my annual date with claustrophobia,
careless med students needling thin skin
in a futile search for my slippery veins.

I self-administer a combination of valium and cannabis,
whatever it takes to erase a two hour drive,
the grim radiology center where other frightened women wait.

Too soon, I am fitted, face-down in the experimental MRI coil,
both arms taped behind my back
for an endless episode of cramped agony.

After 45 minutes, contrast agent is injected though the caustic IV.
If I could move, I’d shiver as my heart accepts its block of ice.
Instead, I keep my eyes closed. The tube shudders and pings.

I imagine my mother, her entire side disfigured,
the remaining tissue twisted and still raw, as if
her breast had been removed with a rusty can lid.

My sister has also been emptied, irradiated, rebuilt,
skin stretched over huge silicon implants
that hide her constant battle with death.

So far, I am immune or undiagnosed,
will myself to return for indignity’s yearly appointment,
confirmation I have eluded the malignant stalker again.



When I was young, you nourished me,
left me sated and engorged,
my epicurean lover.

For years, you fed my hunger
with succulent plenty,
kept me in thrall with your bounty.

Now you are forbidden,
the estranged paramour I attempt to replace
with weak tea, raw vegetables, flourless crackers.

On lean evenings like tonight
I reminisce, sustain myself with fantasies
of exotic olive oil and crusty bread.

I count pallid Weight Watcher points
miss your bitter chocolate seduction
and subsequent orgy.

I deny in the name of health,
kick the habit of appetite,
renounce your Svengali embrace.

Jennifer Lagier