Singing Inside the MRI Machine

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

Inside the MRI machine
my nose an inch from the roof
I hear the tech say

The noise
alternating between jackhammer
and drill
is so soul splitting
I wonder how I will survive
the next hour

Then I realize
the frequency
is the same as
a musical note
I listen more carefully

Very softly,
So the tech won’t think I’m crazy
I imitate the sound
the pitch changes
I hum along again it shifts
and so do I

I am emboldened
I no longer care about the tech
I try the major third
then the minor

The machine is singing
I sing along
We are in harmony
machine and I

When I emerge,
I give the cylinder a pat
Thanks, I say not to the tech
As I leave, I am humming
our song