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"Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Leonard Cohen

Monday, June 16, 2014


creaking, shaken by night and fury,
and I feel leaves dying inwards,
amassing green materials
to your desolate stillness.
                               Pablo Neruda
      (from:Entrance Into the Wood)

The dark chorus sang me awake last night,
their voices harmonizing until Mozart's Requiem
came clear; I knew then, it was for you they sang,
felt the music's strings tugging at my heart's own
and as I rose, I felt that organ become fisted. I check the news,
confirm my angst anew, your presence never far, don't worry.
Your father's sentencing is this day; I feel your soul hovering,
your wings, whisper-soft, near me as I begin to hurry
creaking, shaken by night and fury.

Driving to the courthouse, your case crowds my mind.
To think of much else is difficult, though such horror
should not bear reliving; I fear until justice is done,
I will not be afforded release, and images of you and your twin,
two years old, starved and beaten, you a mere thirteen pounds
when your heart finally gave out, and your father, a man so hard,
panicked and called the EMT's, too late for you, but they came,
got that organ beating, became your de-facto bodyguards,
and I feel leaves dying inwards .

The EMT's alerted the police, and both your parents
were arrested then.  Your brother was discovered--healthy,
bouncing on the couch--while the rescue attempts went on.
Inspections at your house exposed the conditions
in which you and your twin had been living: a urine-soaked mattress
in an empty room--nothing in the room but that cloth bacterial.
As malnourished as both you and your sister were,
in the kitchen stood a fridge, filled, stately, magisterial
amassing green materials.

Today your father will be sentenced; I wish he could get the noose.
But no death penalty here, and no matter what, the mystery
of your life and death will become no clearer.
The letter your father's interpreter read in court made no sense.
He said he never meant to hurt you or your sister,
that he just made a big mistake, and will be broken-hearted all his life.
A mistake! This man who gave you life then slowly stole it back
by starvation, assault--healed over broken bones--resulting illness,
His denials leave me icy, afraid I'll never get to free you, help you soar.
I am taken, I am seized,  find myself led with a calming sort of chillness
to your desolate stillness.

The story of Baby M has haunted me since its inception in May 2012. There is nothing that bothers me quite so much as child abuse, and no abuse that gets to me in the way parental abuse does. This case is so troubling, I have written about it many times. I will never understand these parents, and my heart will never heal from the ache incurred over this baby. The fact that the father was sentenced to 15 years this week was a minor triumph, but it did bring it all back for many of us. (For more information about this troubling case, click on the link/headline below.)

Baby M's father sentenced to 15 years

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