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(1067) Turning Fifty - Dunn

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  • Sam Droege
    Turning Fifty I saw the baby possum stray too far and the alert red fox claim it on a dead run while the mother watched, dumb, and oddly, still cute. I saw
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2009
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      Turning Fifty

      I saw the baby possum stray too far
      and the alert red fox claim it
      on a dead run while the mother watched,
      dumb, and oddly, still cute.
      I saw this from my window
      overlooking the lawn surrounded
      by trees. It was one more thing
      I couldn't do anything about,
      though, truly, I didn't feel very much.
      Had my wife been with me,
      I might have said, "the poor possum,"
      or just as easily,
      "the amazing fox." In fact
      I had no opinion about what I'd seen,
      I just felt something dull
      like a small door being shut,
      a door to someone else's house.

      That night, switching stations, I stopped
      because a nurse had a beautiful smile
      while she spoke about triage and death.
      She was trying to tell us
      what a day was like in Vietnam.
      She talked about holding
      a soldier's one remaining hand,
      and doctors and nurses hugging
      outside the operating room.
      And then a story of a nineteen-year-old,
      almost dead, whispering, "Come closer,
      I just want to smell your hair."

      When my wife came home late, tired,
      I tried to tell her
      about the possum and the fox,
      and then about the young man
      who wanted one last chaste sense
      of a woman. But she was interested
      in the mother possum,
      what did it do, and if I did anything.
      Then she wanted a drink, some music.
      What could be more normal?
      Yet I kept talking about it
      as if I had something to say--
      the dying boy
      wanting the nurse to come closer,
      and the nurse's smile as she spoke,
      its pretty hint of pain,
      the other expressions it concealed.

      - Stephen Dunn
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