Thursday, August 15, 2013

August, 1953

By David Wojahn

 A nurse gathers up the afterbirth. My mother
 *
had been howling but now could sleep.
 *
By this time I am gone—also gathered up
 *
& wheeled out. Above my jaundiced face the nurses hover.
 *
Outside, a scab commands a city bus. The picketers battle cops
 *
& ten thousand Soviet conscripts in goggles
 *
kneel & cover their eyes. Mushroom cloud above the Gobi,
 *
& slithering toward Stalin's brain, the blood clot
 *
takes its time. Ethel Rosenberg has rocketed
 *
to the afterlife, her hair shooting flame. The afterbirth
 *
is sloshing in a pail, steadied by an orderly who curses
 *
when the elevator doors stay shut: I am soul & body & medical waste
*
foaming to the sewers of St. Paul. I am not yet aware
*
of gratitude or shame.
I do know the light is everywhere.

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