Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
2 September 2020

The NS poem: Hacienda de los Ángeles

A new poem by Nicholas Friedman.   

By Nicholas Friedman

Sunlight nests in the potted jade.
A wall clock tracks the vacant hours
that feed a quarter century
of sleep which isn’t really sleep:
A woman, nearly drowned as a child,

ages beneath fluorescent light
she doesn’t see. Night staff wash
her stunted curves. One afternoon
in the leavings of a desert Christmas,
she draws the nurses with a moan

that should mean pain, and soon a blue
and vernixed child comes – limp, unmoving
but alive. They suction his first breath
in a life of grim celebrity,
stunned by the unmiraculous birth.

Reporters crowd the parking lot;
I hunch in my laptop’s steady glow. 
A child. We elbow for a peek
at innocence swaddled in a sheet,
at all we know he doesn’t know.

Nicholas Friedman is a poet based in Syracuse, New York. His first collection, “Petty Theft”, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy