In my memoir, I've divided the sections by the seasons — summer/fall/winter/spring. I introduce each section with one of my son's poems. The following is the poem for Spring.
by Patrick Ranahan
Those footsteps beneath my window
came and went so fast. The ground,
still frozen in spots, begins
its long thaw. The boy passed by
without incident, just the sounds
of his feet, a mud-sucked heartbeat.
When I think about my heartbeat,
its patterns and palpitations, windows
and valves busy with blood, the sounds
of circulation and murmur, the ground
pulses right along with me. It works
by pure magic, this internal drum,
begins anew every moment, always beginning
another push, another pump. Heartbeats
seem to be generated by
superhuman force. I asked the window
what it thought. It said, "there's the ground,
trees point to the sky, I hear no sounds.
But if you can hear the gift of sounds,
place them on the page as evidence of what began
and ended in an instant." A survey of the ground
complete, a military jet maneuvers, its heartbeat
hushed, into its inland cavern, its window-
less womb, where tools clang when dropped by
the uniformed hand. States away, traffic rushes by
the dancing cop, his frantic hands, the short sounds
of whistle and clap. A broker puts his nose to the window
on the thirtieth floor, mutters, "I must begin
my day," clutches his chest and drops, his heartbeat,
tired of his refrain, shows him the ground.
Out in a suburban field, a child squats upon the ground,
runs his fingers through the mud, listens as cars race by.
Today in school he learned the subject heartbeat,
he held his wrist and counted as the sounds
came through his ears by stethoscope. "Begin,"
the teacher said, the children obeyed. The window
took on the fog of nervous youth, and the ground began
its long stretch from the window to the sounds
of the eastern sea, all of this by way of heartbeats.
Latitude on 2nd
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