"Baby Random" by Belle Waring; New American Poets of the 90ís (edited by Jack Myers & Roger Weingarten)
tries a nosedive, kamikaze,
when the intern flings open the isolette.
The kid almost hits the floor. I can see the headline:
DOC DUMPS AIDS TOT. Nice save, nurse,
Why thanks. Young physician: "We have to change
his tube." His voice trembles, six weeks
out of school. I tell him: "Keep it to a handshake,
youíll be OK." Our team resuscitated
this Baby Random, birth weight
one pound, eyelids still fused. Motherís
a junkie with HIV. Never named him.
Where I work we bring back terminal preemies,
No Fetus Can Beat Us. Thatís our motto. I have
a friend who was thrown into prison. Where do birds
go when they die? Neruda wanted to know. Crows
eat them. Bird heaven? Imagine the racket.
When Random cries, petit fish on shore, nothing
squeaks past the tube down his pipe. His ventilatorís
a high-tech bellows that kicks in & out. Not
up to the nurses. Quiet: a pigeonís outside,
color of graham crackers, throat oil on a wet street,
wings spattered white, perched out of the rain.
I have friends who were thrown into prison, Latin
American. Tortured. Exiled. Some people have
courage. Some people have heart. Corazon.
After a shift like tonight, I have the usual
bad dreams. Some days I avoid my reflection in store
windows. I just donít want anyone to look at me.
To Contributors page
To Of(f)course home page To Index of this issue.