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.

Sunna JuhnThe Children’s Wing

Related Posts

supermarket

Thirty-Two Days Without Alcohol

SERHIY ZHADAN
Three thousand steps back.
All I need to do is hold on
to my mineral water,
to hold on to
the countdown:
thirty-two days without alcohol
thirty-three days without alcohol
thirty-four days without alcohol.

poetry feature

July 2018 Poetry Feature

ERICA EHRENBERG
Where the coats are hung,
the second bodies
of the children hold
their forms. In folds
they breathe out,
relaxing backwards, being free.
And if they reach dirt
they eat the dirt, cold.

feature photo

June 2018 Poetry Feature

NATHALIE HANDAL
Because some words together / can frighten loneliness / like the lagoon moving aside / for the sea / Because you’ve chosen / the most crowded voices to hide in / Because you’ve chosen / the oldest wound to haunt you / Because I can’t show you / myself entirely