Come here    My little one    Listen for
Once    I had almost forgotten about you

Now I remember    The broken rib
Your tight hold on that wisdom tooth
The sound your kneecap made on rock

I remember some of your jazzy photos
The green one at the Thom McAn shoe store
The tiny white tree in the dentist’s tweezers
The MRI which looked like a peeled orange

Lie down    No    Right here    Next to me
Hear the lullaby of that train whistle
Downgrade?    I wouldn’t think of hanging you
From that maple tree outside this window
Of pulling you apart    Calcium molecule

By molecule    Into    a pile of white powder

Listen:

Homepage photograph via Wellcome Images by Spike Walker

John McKernan

John McKernan is now a retired comma herder. He lives—mostly—in West Virginia, where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a collection of selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other magazines.