Smells like a pina colada, looks like milk, and tastes like something with a higher chalk content than anything you'd order at the Silver Diner.  Best chugged in shots.  Goes down best cold.

The flavors smile:  vanilla, banana, berry.  Just the barium comes in tall white metal cylinders that look like they hold robot fuel.


The night you were diagnosed, I shivered till my agnosticism cracked, and cried to the watchmaker to sicken me instead.  My husband walked in and said everyone's mom dies; that's life so deal.

So I got in my car and made the tires shriek.  But I didn't crash and I didn't get cancer, and I didn't find peace either.  Damn exurbs.

I came home.


Because I love you, I hope today sucks.  That the jackhammer MRI noise rattles your brain; that your arms ache in the PET-CT.

That way you might forget that the blurry tomographic reconstructions of your innards are so the doctor-priests can peer at your tumor, and prognosticate the length of your thread -- three months or three years.


I come get you.  It's sunny.  You're drinking and smiling.

I get a spoon.

Let me taste the barium, too.

Meera Jhala
The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan