Friday, July 2, 2010


My sixteen-year-old boy arrived at the hospital at 6:30
that Saturday morning to sit with me.
He sat between the window and my bed, long fingers
curled around my own IV-taped hand.
And he was beautiful,
his lanky body, bent over my bed, partially
shadowed by the window-framed sun.

He had gotten up so early so he could just sit there
before his track and field meeting at school,
but I couldn’t move my morphine-heavy
eyes and lips to talk to him.
It seemed like I should say so much,
but I could only manage a few I-love-yous and
you-don’t-have-to-stays. But he did.

I kept drifting out and tripping up in my own
bad dreams and staples and tubes. I couldn’t
quite hold myself there with him. I kept wandering,
two nights back, to my mumbling pre-surgery prayers.
And I realized I could have done better.
Instead of my weak now-and-at-the-hour-of-our-deaths
and acts of contritions, I should have just said,

Look Lord, Here Lord, I made this boy.
And that would have been enough.
This week's prompt from Big Tent Poetry asked us to create a conversation poem. I kept thinking of a conversation I couldn't have, and came up with this.


  1. I really like the conversation you didn't have, the love and caring are palpable, and your last lines potent ones. I am glad you took the time to put it down on paper.


  2. What a strong and realiticaly - based poem. And there is no one who could not have done better!

  3. Wow, Erin, this is so real, glad it isn't though. xoxo

  4. If this isn't real, Erin, you had me fooled! It sends its own very powerful message. Wonderful!

  5. This brought tears to my eyes at the end...
    (oh, to love a son is a wonderful thing!)

  6. Why are Catholics such good writers?

  7. Elizabeth--Thank you very much. It's taken me over three years to get this down on paper.

    Mary--wow! Thank you.

    Annie--Thanks. It was real though, a little over three years ago...

    Derrick--Thanks! No foolin'--it was real.

    Twitches--thanks. I'm glad you think so. I figured if I couldn't make the ending work, the whole poem wouldn't work.

    Cynthia--yes! To love a son IS a wonderful tihng, and I'm blessed to have 3 of them to love.

    Rallentanda--Hmmm. I don't know. Perhaps if I were a better Catholic, though, I would be a better writer. Oh, well...

  8. Now that I've actually read all of the comments...I'm very sorry this was real. You should know, though, that it is also true.The hallmark of a great poem. Thank you for sharing (and yeah, I get the "weak now-at-the-hour-of-our-deaths." I do it too.)

  9. Erin, I love your writing. This gave me goosebumps.

  10. ds--thank you. I'm glad it's real AND true. :0)

    Coppertop--thank you very much. I'm a big fan of your writing, too.

  11. Reveals the difficult to express so well, and that last stanza is fabulous.

  12. The 14th-century mystic Meister Eckhart said that if the only prayer we prayed in our lives was "Thank you!" it would be enough.

    I love the way you use the fog of post-surgery to come to a similarly succinct prayer: "Here's my contribution to the cosmos. And he is a very good one."


  13. Beautiful. Deep and lovely with touching links to the heart!

  14. Such a beautiful moment well captured.

  15. Jeeves--Thank you. I'm glad.

    Deb--Thanks. I had the last stanza first, and worked backwards.

    Paul--I think Eckhart was right. This poem is in its own way a prayer of thanks.

    Tumblewords and Francis--thank you very much!

  16. Erin-This is a beautiful tribute to your son. And ain't it the truth! Love for children shines from this piece. Well written. I'm glad you're still here!

  17. Oh, Erin, you have done it again...moved me to tears. And your note to Paul that the poem is a prayer of thanks in its own way? Yes, more tears.

    I am giving you a link to a blog I visited tonight via Di Mackey's blog (in my blogroll) because, well, you just go see and you'll see! I'm linking her last week's poem, which stunned me for the reasons I explained in comments. Born to a Red-Headed Woman

  18. Lydia--thank you! I visited the blog you recommended and LOVED it. I am now an official follower of "Born to a Red-Headed woman."

  19. "Look Lord, Here Lord, I made this boy.
    And that would have been enough."


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