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The book The House of the World has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is now available on Amazon.

Children Waiting at the Nursing Home

I come back to them
again and again.
Eyes stare fixedly out the window
wrapped in their solitudes.
I want to know their names.
A pole star for each one.
The little girls pretty in their dresses.
The boys covered with grass stains
and mud.
Why do I wish their mothers
were waving at them?
Their fathers taking time from work
to spend an hour on the playground?

Why should I care
that children get lost
and tangled in the years?
That all of us get denied growing up.
It was what we wanted then.
I’m a big boy, the little boy bragged.
I’m a mama, said the girl
as she hugged her doll.
The years picked us up.
We changed and loved the change
as we grew taller,
learned to read,
went off by ourselves and explored.

Life happened.
The sky was blue every day.
The rain soaked our clothes.
Our feet smelled of mud and grass.
And we were never angry for long.
So hungry we could not cry.
Hurt so bad we did not heal.

But the poetess knows,
who looks from the window now,
she has a broken wing.
The man who gets outside
in his chair
no longer looks up,
unable to see.
Gray-haired friends share lunch
and forget who they are,
like lights blinking on and off,
and the children that they were
want to go home.
Want Mama to come.

Look outside for their boyfriends
and girlfriends,
wondering if the pet’s been watered.
And why,
sitting so still,
they can not breathe
when they used to run everywhere.
As a visitor,
I dare not tell them
where the class is going.
Why the bell never rings
to let them leave.
That they are still beautiful,
I’m sure,
someone’s waiting for them
at the door.

Published inIndex of all Poems