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American Life in Poetry

A feature provided by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006

I’d guess that a number of our readers have had MRIs. One of my neighbors, a gravel hauler in rural Nebraska, told me that his test sounded as if he were on the inside of a corn sheller. Jackie Fox, also a Nebraskan, has a different take on the experience. Would you rather find yourself confined in a corn sheller or a dryer? It’s no wonder we call ourselves patients.
 

MRI

It thuds and clanks

like tennis shoes

in a dryer, only

I am the shoe,

sour, damp and

wedged into

the narrow

metal tube,

heart clanging.

 

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

 

"If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."
    -- Emily Dickinson


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