|Jul/Aug 2010 Poetry Special Feature|
Have Mercy on Such as We
The doctor takes Suzanne
out to the volunteers' hospital garden
where a sundial keeps vague time.
His clipboard is bulging with paper
crosshatched with illegible marks,
science words that do not rhyme.
His starched coat reminds her of Mother,
standing over white shirts on the ironing board,
singing "We are poor little lambs
who have lost our way," and the way,
as a child, she always cried
over the "baa, baa, baa," sensing
her mother's silent sorrow billowing
up through lilting lyrics meant to amuse.
All her life, she's been prone to confuse intent,
misunderstand the punch line, blindly resent
those who tried to dress the truth in pretty clothes.
She guessed this doctor would be one of those.