Ten Things I Hid During My Echocardiogram

by Katharine Coldiron


  1. The way I cried, nonstop, for all eighty-seven minutes of The Iron Giant, and what I cried for. The memory of crying at an act of generosity in The Land Before Time when I was very young indeed, and yet not crying at death or danger. That soft place, preserved, unchanged, from childhood to the present.
  2. The particular pain of making two not-so-bad mistakes named Mike, and two grave mistakes named John, both end to end. The humor and shortcuts I use to deflect this particular pain.
  3. The precise weight, shape, and music of missing my father.
  4. The dimensions of my love for my mother, and how they compare to the dimensions of her disappointments. A bar chart that visually summarizes that comparison, the “mother disappoints daughter” bar edging longer than the “daughter’s love for mother” bar. The degree of change the relevant ratio undergoes over time.
  5. How it felt to resolve to make a friend before the end of a half-day at the swimming pool in Damneck, the one that cut up my feet, the sharded bottom like a popcorn ceiling. How it felt to succeed in that resolution and never see the newmade friend again.
  6. Marissa’s beautiful resting bitch face, which I always want to kiss until she giggles, sketched in charcoal on my left ventricle. Marissa’s words of fire etched there, too. Marissa’s voice, powerful and vibrating across the vessels and veins, unyielding, a song for every possible occasion invented on the spot.
  7. The sound of my husband listening to me.
  8. Losing my class ring. Tearing my dress. Seeing the Turrell exhibit only once. Breaking the last blue wineglass.
  9. Finding my mangled wallet on the side of the road. Summer Rose stepping out of that apartment building. Hearing that version of “Gymnopedie No. 1.” Chatting on AIM with Matt in 2005.
  10. How large. How many multitudes.
Katharine Coldiron’s work has appeared in Ms., The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. She lives in California and blogs at the Fictator.