Sunday, February 06, 2005

He wants his old face back

He shouts 'No!'
His voice is always loud
and full of complaint,
people shush him -
it's hard for everyone.
The tv is stacked with videos
and games, the flat
is stacked with laundry
and undone things,
it's hard. The bruising
and swelling are yellow now.
His eyes lift to mine
as though dragging weighted cheeks.
In the hospital, his fingers
raked the bandages
like a beachhead.
He told the nurse
there was an army on his face.
That army has now marched for 6 days,
its boots drag blood across his lip,
across the new land,
the frontier of pain and strangeness,
and just when he begins to heal,
just when he begins to love
the roundness of his nose,
the feel of an upper lip that can kiss,
just then perhaps
they'll shake their heads
cluck their tongues again,
and drag him screaming back.
A boy at school calls him
bathroom face.
At home he keeps the bathroom
mirrors folded up.

It's hard for everyone.

Cleft lip and cleft palate comprise the fourth most common birth defect in the United States. One of every 700 newborns is affected by cleft lip and/or cleft palate.


Blogger Valderbar said...

I can feel it.

11:02 AM  

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