The Children’s Wing

By MARIA TERRONE

Not a place to take flight but where downy-skinned
children can sometimes heal like fallen sparrows

in a shoe box, a place I found myself at nine,
concussed.       The child in the rail-rimmed bed

was crying out in the night,
his stuffed toy fallen beyond reach,

and pretending to sleep, I felt his bottomless sorrow
as my own.       Please pick it up

over and over begged the child of perhaps four years,
a cry unheard until the nurse arrived

at last. Not his mother, I thought, but surely
like her. Instead a woman

who bent over the boy, growling
Shut up, shut up or I’ll give you the needle

until his pleas ended with a whimper,
O.K., but can you pick it up?—

a scene that knocked my view of the world
askew. Suddenly I was bereft—of what

exactly, I didn’t know, but crushed
by inexpressible loss. Poor dumb witness.

 

 

[Purchase Issue 14 here.]

 

 

Maria Terrone’s poetry collections are Eye to Eye; A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press); The Bodies We Were Loaned; and a chapbook, American Gothic, Take 2. Her work has appeared in magazines including POETRY and Ploughshares and in more than twenty-five anthologies.

The Children’s Wing

Related Posts

Messy desk in an office

May 2024 Poetry Feature: Pissed-Off Ars Poetica Sonnet Crown

REBECCA FOUST
Fuck you, if I want to put a bomb in my poem / I’ll put a bomb there, & in the first line. / Granted, I might want a nice reverse neutron bomb / that kills only buildings while sparing our genome / but—unglue the whole status-quo thing, / the canon can-or-can’t do? 

Leila Chatti

My Sentimental Afternoon

LEILA CHATTI
Around me, the stubborn trees. Here / I was sad and not sad, I looked up / at a caravan of clouds. Will you ever / speak to me again, beyond / my nightly resurrections? My desire / displaces, is displaced. / The sun unrolls black shadows / which halve me. I stand.

picture of dog laying on the ground, taken by bfishadow in flickr

Call and Response

TREY MOODY
My grandmother likes to tell me dogs / understand everything you say, they just can’t / say anything back. We’re eating spaghetti / while I visit from far away. My grandmother / just turned ninety-four and tells me dogs / understand everything you say. / They just can’t say anything back.