Well, I have a dentist appointment today. Dentist appointments don't bother me. I have no phobia about drills or shots or cavities. In fact, I look forward to my check-ups. The hygienist is a reader; the doctor has a good sense of humor; and I get to leave work early. It's really a win-win situation.
I do have a new poem today. I'm surprised I was able get one written. It's been kind of a crazy day, right from the start. My son had a fever all night long, so I ended up giving him a cool bath at 3:30 this morning, right before I had to get up for work. I thought I was going to be dragging, but, right now, I feel great.
|Cat and Bird by Picasso|
Needless to say, my poem today is about my sick son. It's also about a story a coworker told me about her cat bringing a dying bird to her. The image of that cat with the bird in its mouth was too strong to resist. Plus, as another friend recently pointed out to me, I have a thing for dead birds in my poems. I hadn't really thought about it, but, reviewing some of my work, dead or dying fowl do seem to appear quite frequently. Don't ask me why.
The poem deals with the issue of being helpless in certain situations. We all like to think we're in control of our lives, and, in a way, we are. But when it comes to really serious issues, life-and-death things, we have about as much control as a newborn baby. Translation: it's all about letting go. As a good friend likes to tell me, at some point in your life, you have to realize that God isn't the co-pilot; He's the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, and mechanic. At best, we can hope to get some nuts and a Diet Coke for the flight, plus a window seat.
That's what this poem is about. Feeling and being helpless, trusting in God.
|My son in the pilot's seat|
Saint Marty has to go brush his teeth now.
My friend’s cat caught a robin,
Brought it inside her house,
Dropped it at my friend’s feet.
The bird stared up at her, eyes
Wide and panicked with death.
My friend lifted it, carried
It outside, placed it in the afternoon
Sun. When she looked at her hands,
Blood sat in the creases of her palm.
She watched as the creature shuddered,
Heaved its orange breast once, twice,
Then died in the green of summer.
I know a surgeon who hit
The orbit of his eye against a door
So hard his vision split, filled
His brain with four of his hands,
Twenty fingers that once held
Hearts and livers, pieced together
The delicate machinery of life.
As he sat in the emergency room,
He saw darkness overtake half
His world, his damaged sight slip
Away from him like some frail
Organ, a lung unable to take
Even one more breath of air.
Last night, my son woke in his crib,
Hot as a winter radiator, soaked
In urine. He whimpered as I stripped
Him, bathed him in cool water, forced
Him to swallow medicine pink as his gums.
As I carried him back to bed,
I didn’t know if I had fixed the engine
Of his young body, performed
The maintenance he needed.
I listened to him labor in sleep,
The rattle of cough, intake of oxygen,
Full of mud and marsh water.
He kicked, moaned without waking,
Fought a battle I couldn’t help
I had to stand
On the sidelines, like some spectator
At the Battle of Bull Run, watch,
Wait for the drums to beat,
The first shots to echo
Across the fields of Virginia.
|Spectators at the First Battle of Bull Run|