The baby calls to you from his crib.
The room is dark, and I sit with him.
I tell him to keep on calling you,
that somehow you will hear –
I know he doesn’t understand me,
but I believe it anyway.
My soul’s voice calls to you too,
Come back to us. Don’t go.
People rush around buying presents.
Christmas soon, but I don’t care.
The lights and decorations
are only absurd; cards in the mail
talk about joy and other alien emotions.
I throw them in a pile and think
of you in your hospital room.
Something is wrong in your pretty head.
People struggle for words to comfort me,
and I thank them. They mean well.
The only comfort to make this right
is a warm you lying beside me.
The little boy stands in his crib,
points at the window full of night,
and says, “Dark, dark, dark.”
“Yes,” I answer, “it’s dark.”
I wrote this in December of 1986. My young and very pregnant wife had been stricken with a massive brain hemorrhage. I was caring for our 18-month-old son and trying to deal with the awful new reality of my beloved unconscious in neurological ICU. At the time I wrote this, we didn’t know if she and the unborn child would even survive. Everyone did survive and thrive, so this is a story with a happy ending, but it looked grim at the time.