I had fifteen sessions of radiotherapy spread over three weeks (you get weekends off) - if you want to learn something by heart repeating it fifteen times seems to do the trick - the journey, the building, even the photos on the walls are now tattooed to my memory - not unlike the three blue 'positioning' dots that now span my chest.

In and out the Linear Accelerator

Down the motorway,
or round the houses
(depending on who takes me)
journeys merging at the end.

Past the station,
down under the bridge,
second exit at the roundabout
(past the allotments,
grazing geese and recycling centre).

Right at the next roundabout,
keeping right, over the canal
and through the lights
by The White Bear.

Then right again
at the big, wooded roundabout
(MIND THE POTHOLE!)
and change gear for the hill.

Up past the big houses,
the golf course,
the tree with the dangling branch
and the bit that feels
like a dinosaur's spine.

Round past the pub
(what bit is he painting today?)
and into the car park.
Search for a space,
give today's driver token for ticket,
park them at coffee shop.

Five minute walk;
green tiles in old building
remind me of Harry Potter.

Photo lined corridors
weave through more
than a century of architecture.

Queue at reception;
which machine am I in?
Go to the loo.
Head for the waiting room.

Wait
Wait
Called
Undress
Lie down
Shuffled
Shoved
Positioned
Lined up;
'ant's and 'post's
and 'inf's and 'supe's
(an imp on a post
eating ant soup?)
"DON'T MOVE"
Left alone
Door shuts
Try to be
somewhere else.

Machine on
Machine off
Machine rotates
Machine on
Machine off
(machine whistles softly
as it adjusts)
Machine on
Machine off

Wait
(don't move, don't move)
Wait
WAIT?
Door opens
Breathe
Get up
Dress
"See you tomorrow"

Loo
Five minute walk
Do lines 1 to 29
in reverse.
Repeat (with minor variations)
14 more times.

© Samantha Newbury, July 2012

And this ...

 

is a Linear Accelerator.