Take Heart 25 July 2012

Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012 in Culture

Take Heart 25 July 2012

A Conversation in Poetry

edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate

Susan Deborah King divides her time between Minneapolis and Great Cranberry Island. In this week’s moving poem she remembers a hospital visit with an elderly Maine friend.



by Susan Deborah King


There being not much of later

to enjoy it in, he suggested to me,

down-island neighbor, we cut it open

right now, the “personal-sized” melon

I brought, since he told me

I might as well take back home

the rhubarb pie I made for him in the hospital

because he preferred his fruit plain.

He could be plain in his speaking too!

Was it just the emotion of the moment

or was this the sweetest, juiciest, most rubiate

fruit a tooth ever sank into, bright

in the mouth as the July day outside

his shut in, TV-in-the-background house,

next to which sat his big red truck

with his late wife’s name, same as his boat’s,

emblazoned on the hood? Next to that

rose a yellow, cross-hatched

squared off mountain of idle,

due to his illness, traps. He was a strapping,

loose-jointed man, a hunter, a kidder, skipper

of any room he sauntered through.

When I got up to leave, he couldn’t rise,

oxygen tubes pinched into his nostrils.

He took my hand — a surprise — looked

into my eyes and couldn’t find the bottom.


                                                In memory of Lyn Colby



Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2010 by Susan Deborah King. Reprinted from "Bog Orchids," The Island Institute, 2010, by permission of Susan Deborah King. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, special assistant to the Maine poet laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or (207) 228-8263.

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