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   Lovers in Thomas Mann's Der Zauberberg
   Traded glass-plated X-rays of their hearts.

   The OB/GYN manipulates
   her mouse on Karl's abdominal hummock
   and--there!--like magic, you appear on-screen:
   our valentine, enveloped yet disclosed.

   We want not to know your sex but gladly see
   your chubby profile, incandescent spine
   and femurs, fingers splayed, the crucial cleft
   of left from right brain, and where a cursor's arrow
   lodges--the tiny chambers of your own
   gogo blood-pump (curiously squarish).

   Soon an inserted needle will supplant
   this high-tech dowsing, something surgical
   will happen; later, a judgment may be made.
   Yet here's my pledge: to be, as this machine's
   barrage of unheard decibels divines
   your body, what your self-forging soul
   requires for resolution--to assist
   its taking-shape by sounding you with love.

   Remind me, when you're old enough, to read
   aloud some winter weekend afternoon
   of young Hans Castorp's narrow-gauge ascent,
   arrival, and "experimental" breath--the
   alpine air so rarefied his face
   and thoughts took on a febrile clarity
   while time's gradations faded.... Watching you,
   I feel as if I, too, were gulping in
   the snowy pixels of your amnion,
   unsure--as the needle's brandished and I take
   your mother's hand--I'll ever go back down.
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Author:Osborn, Andrew
Publication:Southwest Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2009
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