Guest Poet Nancy J. Bowe

delivery room

The cutting ceremony begins ahead of schedule,
knife slashing sweet taffy braid in two, spilling
shades of black purple. Wine leaves stains.

They place him in a plastic bed across the room,
the unfinished mother feasting her eyes on 
unleavened bread, her frozen mind glimpsing 
toy arms and legs, clay bird wings.

I can't reach you. Naked chills the air to pale.
Do you feel the latex hands and icy stainless steel
locket poised to pronounce you silent and do you
hear the snap of starched ghosts in sharp green
masks mumbling the finale?

The wall clock stops drawing circles. 
The hospital graveyard shift leaves for home.
Outside, horizon's straight line swallows

the sun.  A finished mother floats fingertips over
stiff soles of ink on yellow-aged legal paper 
wanting to hold them in her purple blanket of flesh.  
She knows. Some love affairs are too short.
Some end without a smile.

June, 2000

Nancy J. Bowe's Questions:

1) Which images or passages were particularly meaningful or striking to you?

2) What do you think the poem is really talking about?  State what you feel is taking place.

3) Why do you think the poem was written?

4) Are there any ideas or images that could be expanded?

The Albany Poetry Workshop