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.