Sunday, July 26, 2009

Poem for Sunday

By Kevin Prufer

The pepper on the cutting board and the seeds inside it:
a tiny congregation in a doomed church.

Or the sliced cantaloupe and its stringy heart --
sweet and slick, the closest thing to rot.

I was thinking of you when, distracted, I cut my hand
so blood pearled, then, seed-like, dripped into the sink.

I was thinking of the thick blue vein
where the IV goes.

(Or the mourner who planted his wife beneath his window.
She didn't sprout. She didn't sprout.

Then, one day, an onion shoot,
which he devoured.)

Darling, do not die tonight. The doctors are good,
the hospital quiet as a pill beneath chaff-like stars.

Darling, I brought you flowers and sat by your bed
until the white moon rolled behind the towers.

These days, the faucets won't stop dripping,
and I stand in the kitchen dreaming of nurses

who roam the white halls like quiet animals --
and you, in your bed, unable to call them.


"We'd driven from our rural town to Kansas City because my fiancée had been feeling out of breath recently, had had an irregular stress test, and her general practitioner wanted her to have a couple further tests at a larger hospital," writes Prufer in Poet's Choice. "In the end, she spent many days in the ICU, her heart stopped twice, and it was almost a year before she felt truly healthy again. I wrote the first draft of this poem during one of my evenings alone at home...I built the poem around that sensation -- the unfamiliar silences of an empty house, the miles between us, the sound of the faucet in the next room." The poem will appear in Prufer's upcoming Little Paper Sacrifice.

We spent the day in Pennsylvania with Paul's parents, mostly watching the bunnies and groundhog in the backyard and visiting the Hanover Dutch Festival, which has hundreds of craft and food vendors, live German music, and a classic car show outside my in-laws' church. Most of us had crab cakes and fish & chips for lunch, and we walked around the various display tents, many of which had Pennsylvania Dutch crafts, plus lots of jewelry, stuffed animals, yard decorations, and stationery. I bought a handbag made from a pair of old jeans recycled from the Westminster Women's Rescue Mission -- it has bees on the lining and yellow flower beads hanging all around and is adorable.

Amish visitors to the Hanover Dutch Festival.

Many of the crafts were Pennsylvania Dutch designs.

There was also plenty of food, including bratwurst, funnel cakes, and seafood from Maryland...

...and plenty of fall and harvest items, including these Halloween decorations.

Plus there were terrific baked goods -- my in-laws got both apple and raspberry bread, mmmmm!

The festival was right downtown among the chamber of commerce, banks, churches and shops.

This is one of a few dozen classic and antique cars on display.

And Tinkerbell came to promote a local production of Peter Pan.

It was quite hot by the middle of the afternoon, so we went back to my in-laws' house, watched some baseball, and eventually had barbecue. They are going to visit the west coast relatives in a couple of weeks and we hadn't seen them since we got back from New Orleans, so we talked travel and ate blackberry pie (Adam apparently knocked a bracket loose trying to get a seed loose, grr). Then we drove home and, at the kids' request, watched a couple of episodes of Due South, including the utterly awesome "Gift of the Wheelman" -- I usually hate Christmas episodes of anything so it ought to tell you how good this one is that I loved it so much. I have to warn all you Ray K fans that I expect to be very, very, very sad when Ray V is no longer at Fraser's side. And I must get the soundtrack!

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