October 28, 2020

Poem: How I Saw What the Gentleman Saw

photo illustration by S. King

Light reflecting off the yellow walls of the hospital room

Gives the scene a warm, nostalgic air it doesn't deserve.

On the bed, a boy cries and screams.

His limbs are spindly, his skin pale, his head overlarge,

Like a six-year-old foetus.

A white-capped nurse holds him down as he flails.

Doctors in white coats wait in the background,

Prepared to fix what's broken.

The boy's mother stands in the doorway

In a blue gingham housedress and brown cardigan.

Her hair is set in curls,

Her face in lines of perpetual worry.

She speaks to the gentleman in the hall,

A friend who has stopped by because.

"It happened again," she says

With perfunctory weariness.

The boy wails, the nurse shushes, the mother shrugs.

"But don't worry about us.

"We'll be all right."

March 21, 2020

Poem: My Children Will Always Be Strangers

digital illustration by S. King, based on a photo by Rene Bernal

My children will always be strangers.
The defining events of their lives,
The bright flags on their timelines;
I saw these as a jaded adult
With decades of perspective
To temper my understanding.
I cannot fathom the imprint
These days leave on young minds.
Whatever shaped me long ago,
The circumstances of my youth,
Are gone or changed forever.
When, someday, I am asked
To answer for the choices made today,
I doubt any reasons will suffice
To those who still remember all
With the stark intensity of childhood.
Each generation has to ask forgiveness
From all the ones who follow.