M A R C H 1 9 9 0
Hear Linda Gregerson read this poem (in RealAudio).
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The tendons sewn together and the small bones
healed, that your hand
might close on a pencil again
or hold a cup. The delicate muscles made
and the nerves new-laid in their tracks.
let the surgeon be gentle -- removed and the skull
from the stairs. And the nineteen-year-old burglar returned
once, even he, who is not sorry, had
Emma is learning to wield her own spoon --
silver for abundance,
though it seldom finds her mouth as yet.
She hates to be fed, would rather starve,
Silver for pride, then, or luck of the sort
the manifold slippage
is three parts silver anyway,
rats in the hall, the clever fence with a
with a knife in hand and dim designs
the best part of your paycheck for a child
of paradise. And every passing minute in the hours
of pneumonia or the ignorant sweet wash
moves into her lungs, and stitch
When the paramedics came at last, my friend
she must have hit her head, she thought,
she'd just take a minute to mop up the mess
the flaw in memory had provided no such
three times from her face.
launched her on his good green gas
she slipped the bonds of recall altogether.
of us: down payment on the nursing home,
in conscience may not look too closely
after, which shows us diminished regard
one night a woman came home to her house
for a while, and slept till she was wakened.
Copyright © 1990 by Linda Gregerson. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Originally published in The Atlantic Monthly, March 1990.