The NS poem: Hacienda de los Ángeles

A new poem by Nicholas Friedman. 

 

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

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.

This article appears in the 04 September 2020 issue of the New Statesman, Britain isn't working

Free trial CSS