Friday, June 17, 2011

poetry sunday: a day in the life

I'm home in Sun Prairie for a weeklong vacation and I thought I had last Sunday's poem set to automatically post but apparently it did not... so here goes, just a little late! Marge Piercy, similar theme to last week's poem. I promise next week's selection will diverge a bit in terms of content. Also, I will be posting quite a bit from my recent thrifting adventures within the next few days!

Written by Marge Piercy in her book What Are Big Girls Made of? (1997)

She is wakened at 4 a.m.
Of course she does not
pick up, but listens
through the answering machine
to the male voice promising
she will burn in hell.

At seven she opens her door.
A dead cat is hammered
to her porch: brown tabby.
Hit by a car, no collar.
She hugs her own Duke of Orange.
She cannot let him out.

She has her car locked
in a neighbor's garage,
safe from pipe bombs,
but she must walk there.
She drives to work
a circuitous guesswork route.

Outside the clinic three
men walk in circles with photos
of six-month fetuses.
They surround her car.
They are forbidden the parking
lot but the police don't care.

They bang on her hood.
As she gets out, they bump
and jostle her. One thrusts
his sign in her face.
She protects her eyes.
Something hard strikes her back.

Inside she sighs. Turns on
the lights, the air
conditioning, the coffee
machine. The security system
is always on. The funds
for teenage contraception,

gone into metal detectors.
She answers the phone.
"Is this where you kill babies?"
The second call a woman
is weeping. The day begins.
A girl raped by her stepfather,

a harried mother with too
many children and diabetes,
a terrified teenager who does
not remember how it happened,
a woman with an injunction
against an abuser. All day

she takes their calls,
all day she checks them in,
takes medical histories,
holds hands, dries tears,
hears secrets and lies and
horrors, soothes, continues.

Every time a new patient
walks in, a tinny voice
whispers, is this the one
carrying a handgun, with
an automatic weapon, with
a knife? She sits exposed.

She answers the phone,
"I'm going to cut your throat,
you murderer." "Have
a nice day." A bomb threat
is called in. She has
to empty the clinic.

The police finally come.
There is no bomb. The
doctor tells her how they
are stalking his daughter.
Then she goes home to Duke.
Eats a late supper by the TV.

Her mother calls. Her
boyfriend comes over. She
cries in his arms. He is,
she can tell, getting tired
of her tears. Next morning
she rises and day falls

on her like a truckload
of wet cement. This is
a true story, this is
what I know of virtue,
this is what I know
of goodness in our time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...