Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WAITING IN THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, by CLARENCE MAJOR



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WAITING IN THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I reflect on my son's crying [or, on this desperate note]
Subject(s): Children; Hospitals; Sickness; Childhood; Illness


I reflect on my son's crying
while waiting in the children's hospital.
The desperate cry of one slipping away
into death -- cold as ice with closed eyes,
after poison.

Benches and benches of blood.

Joyce and I walked home in the rain
and around midnight I scribbled a letter to my sister,
dying five minutes at a time:
You are the flower of confusion
coming up in the morning
and going tightly shut in the afternoon.
I look forward to your resurrection.

I get up at night and walk naked
in the open through wet weeds.
The moon is smiling and it has no teeth.
I am homeless, I am homeless.

I remember a trillion stars
in the Lexington night and all shadows --
mine and others ahead and behind, but
I cannot remember the touch
of a little girl's kiss.
Does she remember?

I walked to town with a blind man
beside me singing and singing.
That was the summer of a trillion grasshoppers.
His woman back there in a shack
beside the highway
with four grandbabies in a wooden bed.
She fanned summer flies
from the syrup on their lips.

But the blood is white this summer.

Roasted ears. The hog season and my uncle
was a good shot.
The blood is red this summer
the blood is redder than redbirds
this summer.

With the heart of a monk,
I stayed silent,
face flat to the earth
arms outstretched.
And when I got up
I walked close to walls,
Moving with head low
and hands hidden.


Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org




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