a poetry e-zine










Poems By James Owens



My wife lay wrapped in bandages
and new casts, breath

hitching in the forced sleep
that dripped into her, backs

of both hands bruised
around the needles.

Her eyelids fluttered at times,
as if she was near waking

but could not struggle up
through the black sheet of drugs,

and she made low moans
in which I heard sex,

even then, even there.
Just once, I pressed my palm

to her forehead. It was hot
and dry, like a strangers

I thought, senselessly,
feeling the arch of bone

still whole beneath the skin,
where it had always been,

though I had never
touched her and thought skull.

At three a.m., staying awake,
I wandered the sharp smell

of disinfectant in the dimmed corridors.
Silent nurses hurried past

like messengers in the dream
where I will always be out of place,

ignored. In one room
lights on machines fluttered,

as weak as trapped moths,
and a family generic

in the brief glimpse,
a grandmother, a little girl

squeezing a doll, tight
were just beginning to weep.

A doctor looked up, startled,
and, seeing I was there

by accident, closed the door
on what was not my story.

(Originally published in 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, print edition)

James Owens is a Senior Reviewer for The Pedestal. His collection of poems, An Hour is the Doorway, is scheduled for publication in 2007 by Black Lawrence Press. He lives in La Porte, Ind.


Copyright 2007  Chantarelle's Notebook