Today's poem is by Patricia Smith

Baby Born Holding Heart in Hand
            Raipur, India, Nov. 2005

Imagine holding it there, thrumming, taunt,
unbridled crave in an unfinished fist,
not caring it's the reason she exists
at least for this moment. But watch it haunt
the gone dreams of all who see it throbbing,
soft pulsing, blood metronome, raw engine
drumming her death into maybe, robbing
us of what we need to believe. Again.

One doctor feels God's presence, one does not
(chilled, he eyes the trash). A nurse wants to snatch
the beating thing, hold it to her chest, and match
heartbeats. She thinks Maybe I ought
to pray
. The child, with life to overcome,
dimmed by their indecision, shields the drum.

Copyright © 2007 Patricia Smith All rights reserved
from Chautauqua Literary Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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