A visit from The Healing Muse: 'The Waiting' and 'In the Blue Room'
Deirdre Neilen, PhD, shares a selection from Upstate‘s literary journal, “The Healing Muse,” every Sunday on “HealthLink on Air.” Neilen is the editor of the annual publication featuring fiction, poetry, essays and visual art focused on themes of medicine, illness, disability and healing. Read The Healing Muse Cafe Blog.
Today‘s selections are"The Waiting" by Clare Bercot Zwerling and "In the Blue Room" by Donna L. Emerson. Order your copy of “The Healing Muse” today.
Deirdre Neilen, PhD: Grief comes to us all and never in just one guise. Clare Bercot Zwerling is a poet in Texas. Here is one version of grief she calls "The Waiting."
After you left
my arms lost their power
the space between shoulder and hand
was all air
I couldn't drive
or push a shopping cart
or comb my hair
but I held the baby extra tight
The shriek that ruled my insides
flung me outdoors
away from the beehives of
from laughter and frivolous talk
from music stuck as I was
to that train raging down my track
no tears no roar no prayer
no breath held or given
no sinking to the knees
could bring you back
In the evenings I lay
curled beneath a thin blanket of night
waiting for that distant light
of everything absent
waiting for the angel
to spread her comfort --
this is why
and this is why
Donna L. Emerson, who lives and writes in both New York and California, sends us another version of grief, no less powerful.
Here is "In the Blue Room."
Wound tight and tired, he sat us down
around his Formica kitchen table,
as if for a meeting of his board:
ready to announce his funeral plans.
He spoke with such authority
I almost didn't register the sheer white terror
behind his glassy blue eyes.
Then, tucking him in after his first surgery,
alone in that blue-cold room, no nurse nearby,
he whispered, fingers reaching my wrist,
I think I'm going to beat this thing, honey!
The doctor would tell him the next day
what he had just told me,
of the oat cell cancer
and three months to live.
But Dad's boy-hope bloomed like a balloon
that glowing night
bouncing about his room for the last time.
Dad, it's good to see you happy.
We'll take this one step at a time.
We squeezed hands. I'd never tucked
my father into bed before. I folded each
corner, the way he taught me, military style,
pulled the cloth as high as it could go,
firm against his big chest, lingering over cotton.