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

vintage photo of father

Ode to my Father

DENISE DUHAMEL
Man of beer and doughnuts, man of wieners and maple syrup, / sweet-toothed man, man of the one-liner, / man of drum sets and baseball bats and other boys’ toys / he bought his daughters so that he would know / how to play with them.

2017 heading

The Common’s 10 Most-Read Pieces of 2017

It seems only fitting to give one last nod to the fantastic pieces that we brought out in 2017. Below is a list of our most-read pieces of the year: the poems, essays, interviews, and art that made 2017 our biggest year yet for web traffic from around the world! We hope you'll have a look, if you haven't already, and see why this work struck a chord with readers this year.

The Common logo (black box) in between POETRY and FEATURE, in white print on a light green background

December 2017 Poetry Feature

ALBERTO de LACERDA
To see you is to stay and remain, / To see you is finally to see; / I open my veins to life / As if an exceptional body / Desired my blood. / I discover everything in you. / You look in my eyes: you are / The liquid filling / The bridges of heaven and earth. / To see you is to forget fear, / To speak and not see the divisions / Words create. / To see you is to be a forest.