Leslie McGrath


(after Rimbaud)
I am waiting to breathe the light. They say there will be a long tunnel, then light.
Will I see, just for a moment? Seeing, what is it? Better than tasting, than
hearing? I can feel the machines whirring; so big, so heavy. Something being
pumped from a bag is a salty fire in the back of my right hand. “David,” they say
“David, can you hear me? Are you in pain?” I think yes and the thought tastes
like smoke, the smoke of the campfire we built on the beach. Driftwood and
dried seaweed. Was it spring or fall? We sang. I remember her voice coming
toward me over the sand, coming back again over the water. Later when she read
to me, oh how like a warm washcloth, a dog’s lick. Now everything hurts: that
taproot in my brain is a cruel finger, pushing every button as I go down floor by
floor by floor. The pain is so loud: a trumpet blowing the strangest sounds. Now
footsteps– are they coming or going? Lemony voices. I am waiting for the light.
Breathe. Will it be blue like six? Breathe. Pink like up?

Leslie McGrath
Poem, copyright © Leslie McGrath, 2005
Appearing on the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse