The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®

 

Chard deNiord

To the End

 

So angry in the first light of day as he lay in his hospital bed

with the metal guards upraised, stuck on his heath for good,

demented but aware of the time and bent on fighting to the end,

old marine that he was who’d never been to war, but had

in his head, destroying his enemies one by one except

this one without any form—a cough, some stars, a twinge;

no more “good mornings” to the team of men in their uniforms

of scrubs and gloves—just “godammit” again and again,

so much vim still left in him as they stripped him bare

in his uric bed and pinned him down while begging him

to “please stop fighting” then strapped him in to a human crane

that raised him up like a missing piece and rolled him in

to the sterile bath where they washed him clean as he hung

in the air and dressed him there in olive green and brought him

back into his room that was not his room where they lowered

him down to his special chair in which he sighed, then grinned,

as if he’d won again and was ready now to greet his son

who’d travelled such a long long way to say good bye. 

 

 

 

CHARD deNIORD is the Poet Laureate of Vermont and author of five books of poetry, most recently Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011) and Night Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005). His book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets (Galway Kinnell, Ruth Stone, Lucille Clifton, Donald Hall, Robert Bly, Jack Gilbert, and Maxine Kumin) titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, was published by Marick Press in 2011. He is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Providence College, where he received the Joseph R. Accinno Teaching Award in 2011. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont with his wife Liz.

 

 

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