Stress Test
by Joan Colby


She strides the slanting treadmill
until her heartbeat is staccato. Electrodes
like leeches swarm her body
sucking hard as her breath rasps.
A voice says go faster.

The scanner trolls the mechanism
of her bloody pump. Next week she’ll be living
in her car, a foreclosure sign nailed
to her door as if she were a plague victim.

Her husband lost his job two years ago,
couldn’t land another.When the money ran out,
he took up burglary.Of course, he was no good
at that. A man who always wore
a suit and tie. And now he’s doing six years time.

The radiologist looks away.
Says, your test results are fine.
Inside the body is a black and white
country of indifference.






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