March 5th, 2017

poetry, exceptindreams

The Cambridge Afternoon Was Gray | Alicia Ostriker

“The Cambridge Afternoon Was Gray”
Alicia Ostriker

from A Birthday Suite

For Eve

When you were born, the nurse’s aide
Wore a gray uniform, and the Evelyn Nursing Home
Was full of sisters of mercy starched

To a religious ecstasy
Of tidiness. They brought you, struggling feebly
Inside your cotton blanket, only your eyes

Were looking as if you already knew
What thinking was going to be like.
Some pinch of thought was making your eyes brim

With laughter, like a child
Who’s been hiding in a closet
Among the woolen overcoats and stacked

Shoeboxes, while the anxious parents
Call Where are you? And suddenly the child
Bounces into the room

Pretending innocence… My hot breast
Was delighted, and ran up to you like a dog
To a younger dog it wants to make friends with,

So the scandalized aide had to pull the gray
Curtains around our bed, making a sound
Of hissing virtue, curtain rings on rod,

While your eyes were saying Where am I? I’m here!