5 AM—the world is silent save for the heater
in the hallway, the cars wooshing
down the main road, the vibrato of
every single driver. Every creak of a settling
house. Lay my head down, press it into pillow.
On the window sill a jar of coins,
sunlight crawling through the
water in an empty spaghetti jar.
A spider settles itself into the warmth
of my house. Inside the body: ghosts
of IVs, needles, feeling
breathless in a hospital bed.
Somewhere inside my brain aware
of the machine pumping oxygen,
beeping, attached by wires to the chest.
In the chest, an animal. The animal
forgetting how: to howl, to crawl,
to find the words.
Copyright © 2021 by Margarita Cruz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 18, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“At the very beginning of the pandemic, I was hospitalized throughout March due to a pericardial effusion. After I began rehabilitation, I challenged myself to write a poem each day for the next year following the writing prompt Chelsey Johnson had given the Northern Arizona University MFA program I was attending at the time as a way to document and derive meaning from the torn world. Everything had changed after the surgery, and I was paying attention to my heart in a very different way than I had ever before. This was one of those early poems I wrote upon trying to listen to my new world.”
Date Published: 2021-06-18
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/mourning