How I love the hospital
Gift shop—pocketing the penny
Candy and ghosting the dusty aisles
The other dead have.
I was locked in the Starver’s Ward
With the other almost-girls.
How I miss that summer
When there was no world.
Smoking endless cigarettes
On the fenced-in roof.
A teenage slumber party,
The days had no beginning or end
And was one seamless dream.
As the months piled up
Rain when I woke
Sounded like horses.
A little musical surgery
Right now, just might kill off
This warm narcotic of nostalgia, this wish
For a sweet smear
Death. Like the train I took
Through Paris on my honeymoon
In a silvering storm,
This room becomes a kind of
Wake, a milk-bashed reverie.
It’s true: my little sister is trying to die
With me. It’s true: the world ran out
And the jewel they put inside us.
What with the small massacres of childhood
Followed by the decades of hospitals.
Like a teenage car wreck,
No survivors, just God,
Breathing on the last moments
Of the child, living.
This, then, is the weather
At the end.
Cynthia Cruz is the author of four collections of poems: Ruin, The Glimmering Room, Wunderkammer and How the End Begins. Her fifth collection, Dregs, is forthcoming in 2018. In 2018, a collection of essays on silence and marginalization and an anthology of Latina poetry will also be published.
A PhD candidate in the German Department at Rutgers New Brunswick, she teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
Essay on VIDA entitled “Where We go From Here, “Political Poetry and Marginalization,” by Cynthia is an articulate indictment on our current politosphere, and a vital read.
Featured image: Stewart Ferebee Photography
“Chronic” first appeared in the 2012 issue of Ping-Pong Journal of Art and Literature