You're pale against the red velour
and where your moose pyjamas gape
your belly is jaundiced
the curry-powder yellow of betadine.
They promised you a popsicle,
pressed a berry-scented mask
to your struggling face
and then you woke
to uncooperative legs and tender tummy,
a tube biting your hand like a snake
and monitor cables streaming
from your skinny ribcage.
Now you lie limp as the blanket
draped over your knees.
When you try to move, confusion
blooms: why does it hurt?
And clustered like ghosts
in the back of my heart:
all of the children who won't
be fully recovered tomorrow
all the parents who've learned
to mask oxycodone with honey,
who shave their own heads bare
in powerless solidarity...
How does God bear it?
Maybe the same way we do.
The heart shatters, but keeps beating
just love, just love, just love.
The second 30x30 poem prompt was "on the couch." I immediately thought of our son on the couch when he was recuperating from (perfectly ordinary, unremarkable) hernia surgery. Then I thought of the recent tough news at Superman Sam (The post you didn't want to read), and of all of the kids who are recuperating -- or not recuperating -- from infinitely more terrifying medical adventures than ours. The reality that children suffer is almost more than the heart can bear. Of course, we ache, and then we keep on loving; and in that, I think we mirror God, the cosmic Parent Who does the same.
If you want to send a note to Sam, you can write to him at Sam Sommer, E584 / Children's Hospital of Wisconsin / P.O. Box 1997 / Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-1997. Receiving notes, cards, etc (many featuring superheroes in some way) cheered him last time they were in the hospital for an extended stay.
On the 30 poems / 30 days front: some of us who are writing poems in response to these prompts are submitting them to the 30x30 website. If you're interested in other people's responses to these prompts, you can check out each day's submissions by clicking on each prompt link, here. And if you're interested in other folks who are attempting this same daily poem feat during National Poetry Month, don't miss NaPoWriMo, now in its tenth year!