A Confused Grandmother Places Child through Airport X-ray by Martin Ott

The plastic bin must have felt like a bassinet
to the baby, tiny feet kicking, no place to roll.
Two months out of the womb, enclosures
can seem comforting until the conveyor whirs.

Even this movement is no distress as the family
places him in the car seat and idles four cylinders
when he’s too fussy to sleep. The curtain parts
and darkness blankets him. Sleepy attendants

view skull, ribs and hip bone once confused
with the baby’s penis during ultrasound.
The boy’s gurgle filters up to the crowd
The belt halts. “Oh God?” his grandmother

whimpers and the mother drops the stroller
she’s been fighting to close. Time halts.
A mother’s terror is not seeing her baby,
but his irradiated insides softly glowing.

His first lonely cry inside the aperture
makes her nipples weep and she hums
one of Beethoven sonatas, her pregnancy
music. The x-ray beams a toothy smile.

The machine pushes him through its womb.
This time, the first to see him emerge
head first, his mother cradles him gently
in a world scared of tiny, exploding monsters.

Previously Published in Connecticut Review

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2 responses to “A Confused Grandmother Places Child through Airport X-ray by Martin Ott

  1. Pingback: One of my favorite poems by Martin Ott « Poets' Guide to America

  2. Pingback: One of my favorite poems by Martin Ott. « John F. Buckley

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