Copyright 2018

Brain Scan on Yom Kippur

Anya Silver

(In Memory, 1968-2018)

Lying masked in the tube,
I close my eyes and let the buzz
tune my mind to half-trance, half-sleep.
In the synagogue, the congregation prays
in Hebrew, a language I don’t speak.
In the MRI, the banging, pinging coils
chant their own tongue of film and slice.
I’m not fasting. The IV feeds dye
into my vein, which sends it to cranial folds.
As the lens searches my brain for tumors,
I imagine God’s eye scanning my soul.
Don’t move. Lie perfectly still, the tech says.
And so I wait, shrouded in the tunnel,
as ink dries on the divine scroll,
and the Gates begin to close.


Anya Silver is the author of four books of poetry, including Second Bloom (Cascade, 2017) and From Nothing (LSU, 2016). She was a Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry (2018). Her work has been published in many books and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2016. Anya taught at Mercer University in Macon, GA. 

Quiet Storm publishes "Brain Scan on Yom Kippur" in Anya's memory and encourages readers to view her obituary in The New York Times here.