Brain Scan

Skloot, Floyd

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Sep-16-1997


The urgent voice in this poem tells the patient to "Be still." The patient is about to undergo a brain scan (CT or MRI?) and the poem consists of a series of instructions. Don't worry about the discomfort or the side effects of the dye, the poem demands, "forget that your cradled head / may reveal a hard secret soon," the only thing that matters is "the subtle / shading of mass, some new darkness afloat / in the brindled brain sea." [16 lines]


This short poem speaks the orthodox language of medicine (i.e. how you feel is incidental, the splendid objectivity of the scan is all-important), but the orthodoxy seems a bit strange because it uses words like "meadowsweet light" and "brindled brain sea." Beware! The poetic impulse may lurk within even the most scientific of machines.

Primary Source

Music Appreciation


Univ. Press of Florida

Place Published

Gainesville, Fla.