American Life in Poetry: Column 494


I’d guess that a number of our readers have had MRIs. One of my neighbors, a gravel hauler in rural Nebraska, told me that his test sounded as if he were on the inside of a corn sheller. Jackie Fox, also a Nebraskan, has a different take on the experience. Would you rather find yourself confined in a corn sheller or a dryer? It’s no wonder we call ourselves patients.


It thuds and clanks
like tennis shoes
in a dryer, only
I am the shoe,
sour, damp and
wedged into
the narrow
metal tube,
heart clanging.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Jackie Fox. Poem reprinted from Bellevue Literary Review, Volume 13, no. 2, Fall 2013, by permission of Jackie Fox and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2019 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.