Sunday, 24 September 2017

Still Life

by Jill Crainshaw


I am his heart,
  the beat
  beat beating heart.

Perhaps you have seen the photographs.
Such a peaceful visage. Still
         unravaged
              by the beat beat beating
                   of time.

A hawk-moth hummingbird mid-air
              suspended
        in the picture window
trembles
spirals
down
to kiss a moonflower’s awakening ear,
                     pulse
                          quickening
        as nectar of paradise
        thrums through quivering wings.        

A nurse,
eleventh hour of a twelve hour shift,
pauses. Looks out through the window
exhales
turns inward. Tender
eyes alight on his face. She touches two fingers
to a small wrist.
        She counts my pulsating surges
              one two,
                           three four
                   thirteen fourteen   fifteen

Mama cradles the child whose
body cradles me. I am
                                    his heart.
Suspended in a tornado’s eye. Still.
          She hears me

as another night ascends and
falling rain begins to
              beat beat   beat
              on the window pane.


* * * * *

Author's Note: "Still Life" is a poem I wrote just prior to Charlie Gard's death. The poem is a kind of persona poem written from the perspective of Charlie's heart. My own heart aches for Charlie's family.

Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She enjoys exploring how words give voice to unexpected ideas, insights and visions.


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