Thursday, March 3, 2011

His Hands Have Learned What Cannot Be Taught

This poem by Martin Espada was featured on Poetry Daily today.

What do you think about taking an emotionally-charged situation and stating it quietly, matter-of-factly, like this?

Do his simple lines minimize the sadness of this truth in their lives - the woman's recurring siezures - or do they

help us understand this kind of grief?

His Hands Have Learned What Cannot Be Taught

My wife has had another seizure,
the kind where she seems to be dead,
her eyes open and unseeing,
like jellyfish dangling
in the ocean at midnight.

My son, not yet seventeen,
leans across the table
and shuts her eyelids
with the V of his fingers.

When she wakes,
she will not know why she dropped her coffee.
She will not know his name, or mine, at first.
She will not know that he closed her eyes.
I will know that his hands have learned
what cannot be taught, that now
I can leave the table.

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