Here are two poems I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks. They have been revised three times, but I’m not ready to say they are in their final form. As always, I welcome feedback from all of you!
“Dormant in the Corner”
I am constantly
Defeats my man-
To provide a place
For my owners to
Walk, jog, or run. I
Don’t think they made
Me to serve as more
Closet space, even
Though I hold empty
Plastic clothes hangers
And am adorned with
Monday’s boxer shorts
All week long. I should
Be running at 5.0 on a
Moderate incline and not
Gather dust and serve as
A hiding place for the small
Boy they only yell at when
He comes close to me.
I remember when these
Two opened my box and
Marveled at my features:
A book rack, two cup
Holders, and a digital
Readout that accurately
Measures their health. I’m
Supposed to be helping
Them lose weight, gain
Strength, and lengthen
Their lives. Due to
Inactivity on both
Of our parts,
Are both awake
In bed on the other
Side of this room, I
Hear them, once
In a while, discuss
Parting with me
He always says he’s starting Monday.
She laughs and knows he won’t.
At least she has the dignity
Not to lie as she balls
Up her candy wrap
pers and complains
again about her
It’s four minutes after two in the morning
And raining like crazy out there
Beyond the automatic doors
That swoosh when people enter or exit
Or sometimes for no discernable reason.
I’m sitting beside a woman who wears
A winter coat, but it’s April. I sense
That she’s not nearly as cold as I am
And perhaps has been here before.
Her steady, plain face is remarkably relaxed
While the rest of us toe-tap our nerves
into flat grooves in the thin carpet.
I’ve never been a nail-biter, but
It’s tempting. On the suspended television
In one corner, a popular syndicated emergency
Room show illuminates an otherwise dreary
Real E.R. and I wonder why no one wants to turn the channel.
It occurs to me that the show was always twenty percent
Medical expertise and eighty percent Hope. Neither the woman
Beside me nor anyone else here is watching. But we all
Probably could use hope. Faith. Something to keep us
Here and not just give up.
My wife has been back there
For nineteen minutes and I’ve thought dreadful things
About our future son who may not survive. I clench my
Hands in frustration and prayer. They can’t make
Me sit here like this much longer.
The episode ends
The credits roll
The woman in the faded burgundy coat
Is asleep and clutching a picture
Of a small smiling child.
I stare at it for far too long.
So long in fact that I didn’t
Hear them call my name
And wheel out my family.