Listener

Listener


 

My nation’s two hundredth birthday’s coming
I’m leaving
The last exit from Brooklyn
A bus humming to Montreal

The Oratoire de Saint Joseph
Displays worn crutches of the healed
Much quicker cures than my doctor’s trade
Medical school best learned by a trained ape
Most apes too smart to train

Montreals songbirds are much louder than Brooklyn’s
I walk right into a man whose
Confident eyes don’t match fidget hands
Mimes the swift anger of his children
Laughs when he cries

The museum guard cares not for Clemenceau’s ceramics
Hidden in suitcases during the war
The children are lost to him
His love insufficient to love himself
In the bathroom I ask the mirror
How does this face make me a confessor?

The woman in the gallery wears thick lenses, whispers:
I married a wild man who loved the wilderness
Built a hut, grew our food
The child, the worries, all mine

Good that Montreal keeps experts from far countries
Beri-beri wrecked her sight
Her shoulders round as a ball
Says never before told her tale

Next week I cross this great northern continent
Fall for a teacher bound for the arctic
Freeze in a tent on the fourth of July
Hike the shores of green mountain lakes
Reach the Pacific
Cold blue waves, ringing from the East

But I most remember those who told their tales
Who gave me what they could when
I was useless
Too young to know what they did

The Chinese say you
Must walk ten thousand li
Read ten thousand books
Before you paint the world

When you hear ten thousands lives
You too might learn to live

Posted in Medicine.