cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
After the fall

He is not particularly surprised to wake up
in the hospital ward, nor to hear the nurse cry,
"Lord almighty! It must be some kind of miracle,
a man falling from a fifth floor window,
breaking near every bone in his body,
and waking up again!"

He closes his eyes. Is this a hospital
or a church? He would laugh
if his ribs weren't snapped. He growls
through his wired jaw, "What kind of miracle
makes a man learn to walk for the third time?"

Now he's done it. When the nurse interprets
his slurred words, he gets a whole sermon
on grace and gratitude. He half-sleeps
until the nurse says, "There's someone to see you."
He opens his eyes

and Paula walks in. He grins,
then grimaces, then flattens his features
and tries to stay very still. "Hello, beautiful."
Her smile is unsteady. "I can't believe you're alive."
And then: "No more window washing.
Any other job you want, but no more window washing."

Then he does laugh, broken ribs be damned.
She raises an eyebrow. "I was thinking,"
he murmurs, "when I get out of here, you and I,
we could open a dance studio."
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
My great-grandfather

who cannot say I love you
is standing in the doorway
he has stood in for six months
staring at his son
slumped in the corner, contorted
from polio and pain,
squeezing his eyes shut and crying
like he did on the day he was born:
hot tears, red cheeks, swollen eyelids,
face scrunched up and ugly and more beautiful
than anything else that ever existed
and my great-grandfather opens his mouth
and says: get up, boy,
no son of mine is going to be a cripple.

February 2011

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