Sometimes, a verse just pours out of you. Often, when that happens, you feel compelled to revise and perfect it. But sometimes, a spontaneous poem is a record that seems as though it should last forever, just as it is.
In the summer of 1986, my late wife, Pat Wiggins, and I were on a brief vacation to the Pacific Northwest, when she suffered her third miscarriage in less than three years. The doctor at the clinic advised her to rest a while before leaving, and she fell briefly asleep. I walked outside, and stood beside the plate glass window that ran across the front of the clinic.
That dead thing in her body,
That squiggle under the flickering wiper blade,
That one who never was,
That almost child,
Outside, the air is still and wet.
I bite my lip and watch
The redness in the windowpane.
I cannot howl, but I
Can listen to the night.