Mother and Son

this was written about my son, who went through open heart surgery when he was just an infant (7 1/2 months old).  He’s perfectly healthy now, but I’ll never forget that day. 




They wheeled you away from me

and I watched the double doors swing closed

I sense the moment the nurse pricked

you with her bright needle

stopping your heart

from beating its affirmation

and the machine beside you

began to pump loudly

in a shrill mimic of your pulse

At that moment my own heart slowed

Time stopped

and my body collapsed into itself

as I hunched in a corner on the floor

by the table with the coffee machine

I shut my eyes and picture the surgeon get to work

slicing through the center of your chest

to uncover your tiny heart

The nurse who had told me before stealing you away

that it was no big deal

they’ve been doing this type of surgery for years

yawned through it all

she’s seen it all before

the human body — even a tiny infant like you — just wasn’t special anymore

While the surgeon has laser concentration

focused only on the tiny chamber that needed to be plugged

Never stepping back to marvel at the precious life he was saving

When it’s all over

another prick restores your pulse

that starts slowly

like a cat stretching the sleep from his body

and I am ushered in to wait for your waking

because it is my face that you know as your own

The surgeon will disappear forever

and I imagine he returns like Zeus to Mt. Olympus



There are tubes and wires everywhere

burying your peach body

I find a small patch

of your leg to rub

and wait

My touch seems to quiet the machines

into a gentle rhythm that is a constant

reminder of life

I think about the day many years ago

in my teenage torment

when I wanted to leave the world

and that deep yearning I had to crawl

into the dark hole of eternal slumber

How distant that feels now

under the artificial lights in this room

that shrinks around us

as the real world floats away outside

even the nurses that flutter in from time to time

have become just another part of the scenery

Now it is my job to save you

to help you find the tunnel back to me

I sing so my voice can guide you through the darkness



When your eyes open

they are different

though still that famous hazel mixing the best of all colors

they now gaze at the world like a weary war hero

You are stoic and poised

while babies scream all down the hall

With a squeeze of my finger

I know you are now in charge

ready to guide me through this trauma

I cannot pick you up

to nurse

so I cautiously contort myself around the tangle of lines,

bend over the rail

hope for the best

you latch on and

we are one again



 Beautiful boy with so much wisdom.




~ by Dark Landscapes on June 9, 2012.

9 Responses to “Mother and Son”

  1. :'(…..

  2. he is a beautiful boy! oh and the poetry, the story…the mother in me celebrates the success!

  3. Where are you darling! – Beautiful as always, your words!!

    • I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had a spare moment. And then my husband wanted to to a mini-vacation, so I had a terrific time away from EVERYTHING! I didn’t bring my computer, and can’t stand reading poetry on my smart phone, so I stayed unplugged. Hope to read some now.

  4. I must admit, I cried several times while reading this… You are a marvelous writter. I seriously have not been moved like this before. I’m even having a hard time finding words to put meaning on how your poem touched me… a first for me… since I have words for everything. Thank you for sharing this. I’m so happy that he is still with you.

    • Thanks, Aaron. It was hard to write this, because I hate remembering it. But I am lucky that he’s a healthy little boy now and he runs around and tires me out every day now. He’s also super smart and very sweet and now I’m becoming an annoyingly proud parent.

  5. I sobbed while I read this, you’ve got a touch of Jodi Picoult in your writing! Loved your boy – a darling soul!
    With warm wishes,

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