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  • Writer's pictureLammergeier Staff

Letter to Marie Curie | Tanis MacDonald

Beets are no strangers to photosynthesis. A moulded

brassiere rethinks the cup. Caves drip, and all clarity

is archival. The technician explained barium isotopes before

injecting me and then we waited for the positron

emission. I was as young then as you were when you moved

to Paris to study after years at the Flying University, before

lab work and marriage and widowhood and polonium.

Imaging and diagnosis. Gamma camera. That tick and rustle

was all me, importunate visitor on a guided tour of my bones.

Spasm rhymes with neoplasm, but this is not that kind of letter.

Znalazłem to. You discovered and Dr. F plucked my tumour out

on a Monday morning. He ranks high on RateYourMD, and

you won two Nobels. How long until you rule the periodic

kingdom by divine right? You made sure to teach

your daughters Polish. There are six stable isotopes

in naturally occurring barium. I’ve had thirty years

to rethink that day, and the scar on my neck shines

only when I lift my hair. Clarity is archival, and so is fear.

Tanis MacDonald (she/her) lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada, and teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her latest book is Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female (Wolsak and Wynn, 2022). Recent poems have appeared in Grain, Freefall, and Minola Review.

Twitter: @Tanis_MacDonald



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