The MRI Machine Sounds like a Hummingbird

A softer sound than the crude
x-ray chirp

of a sparrow or blue-bellied
finch. Violet crowned,

I can never not hunger
for things less tethered to earth.

It is through speed
and lightness that time slows.

Beyond that red-billed rhythm,
I imagine your inner weather

is nothing but wind,
an irregular albino sighted

against a dark scan
of shadows. Imagine being

fed, head first, to the mouth
of a machine. Each organ

a confused margin of mass,
more piece than place,

more pollen than beak,
a whole bitten flower breaking

down inside that bitter

of a bird’s pink muscled grove.
This is how matter moves

through the body, like memory.
All the daisies

picked in health, a whole
childhood of dust-sleeved

fields of wheat, gone gullet
and swallowed whole.

I have nothing
but sympathy for the tender

neck of a tulip. Seen
and unseen. Above, there is

a sterile sky of plastic
and that sourceless voice

telling the lungs
to breathe, exhale, hold.

Kristene Kaye Brown is a mental health social worker. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry and fiction has previously been published, or is forthcoming, in The American Journal of Poetry, Columbia Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, Meridian, upstreet, and others. She lives and works in Kansas City.