Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Poem for Piersson

I wrote this poem in May while in the waiting room at Newton Wellesley hospital. Emily was in the birthing room with her sisters and mother. She came out to say Jane's child would be born any minute. Suddenly everything seemed supercharged with meaning. So I wrote a poem for my first nephew--who is now my first godson! Piersson, consider this my initial offering to your spiritual welfare. And as far as all that "renunciation of temptation" stuff goes, well, I consider it my solemn duty to encourage you, at an appropriate time later in your life, to conduct your own research so you can make an informed decision about what to renounce and what to celebrate.


For Piersson Michael Purnell

The Celtics are crushing the Hawks
as some kids bobble a latex glove
they’ve blown into a balloon.

Emily rushes in to say your mother’s
been pushing for an hour and that soon
you’ll be here. She hurries away.

A toilet flushes. A commercial hints
at what happens in the next episode of Lost.
The elevator dings and a group

of pregnant women on tour walk past.
The kids who’ve popped the balloon
and now color in coloring books learn

from their exhausted father that it’s time
to go—a minor protest, then they’re gone.
The registrar asks if everyone

but the television has deserted me.
Empty for a moment, this room
seems more a corridor than a room,

a brief passage between sets
of backlit double doors. Nephew,
who are you? Who will you be?

On ABC the Big Three are sitting
on the bench with towels on their heads,
giving each other high fives, waiting,

resting for what the commentators
and every spectator agree
are the more difficult games ahead.

No comments: