Spencer Reece


Those mornings I traveled orth on I-91, 

passing below the basalt cliff of East Rock

where elms discussed their genealogies.

I was a chaplain at Hartford Hospital,

took the Myers-Briggs with Sister Margaret,

learned as I was an I drawn to Es.

In small group I said, “I do not like it,

the way young black men die in the ER,

shot unrecognized, their gurneys stripped,

their belongings catalogued and unclaimed.”

In the neonatal ICU, newborns breathed,

blue, spider-delicate in nests of tubes.

A Suday of themselves, their tissue purpled,

their eyelids the film on old water in a well,

their faces resigned in plastic attics,

their skin mottled mildewed wallpaper.

It is correct to love even at the wrong time.

On rounds, the newborns eyed me, each one

like Orpheus in his dark hallway, saing:

I knew I would find you, I knew I would lose you.



“ICU” is from The Road to Emmaus (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014).