While my three children were young, I wrote just enough poetry to give me an inkling that I might have an aptitude for it, but I wasn’t brave enough to throw my earning potential aside until my family was grown and I’d worked for a number of years. As time went on, I came to regret not having devoted myself to writing much earlier in life. The “now or never” decision came about 20 years ago—my late-in-life career—and the process of creating a poem still gives me enormous satisfaction. I’m gratified that my poetry is widely published in the small press and equally gratified by becoming part of a larger community of writers.
Silence as I had witnessed only in the desert’s
dwarfing expanse—when the dusty town
I lived in amounted to little more
than scattered trailer parks and cheap
Navy housing. You had to drive to get at it,
take any road that dwindled to hardpan,
stop the car and listen—nothing—
a stillness so profound you heard your heart
beating—to break the spell a desecration, sacrilege.
I stood there as if I’d stepped into a cathedral:
refracted sunlight igniting the brush,
mountains soaring from the horizon in an exultation.
If a tree falls in the forest does it make
a sound? Do we hear the earth’s spin
and revolution? Or the rush of galaxies flying
off from the center, the entire universe
expanding at unfathomable speeds? What is it
that draws us ever upward? And to what
dominion except the silent regions of space?
Is this emptiness then our heaven, our glimpse
of salvation? If a child cries in the wilderness,
alone, do we hear it, does it make a sound?
7:30 a.m. in Pediatrics: a vacuum cleaner
drowning out every other noise in the corridor.
I close the door. He rolls over, cradling
his head on one arm, his face flushed
with sleep and the effort of breathing—not yet
awake after a night in the ER: the stick in his wrist
frightening, uncomfortable. Count him among the blessed
and let his sleep be that of healing. Let him live
and thrive, this unique and miraculous child,
heart of the soulless universe in which we toil and spin
where I can hear only the steady rhythm of his breath.
--first published in Ibbetson Street
© 2018 Linda M. Fischer
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