I
It’s a wonder, how tender and pure the sick are,
gazing across vast distances, seeing things that no one else does,
staying up at night, and smiling in the darkness,
as their beds caress them with the joy of having solved a mystery.
Is it then a wonder, how the sick arise from napping
rich and perfumed (like a seed awakening from sleep in spring),
lie fresh in quiet wards, and listen as a fly knocks
on their headboards, and someone calls their names?
It’s a wonder, how readily the sick become holy,
Waiting the days out gladly, as one separates a tithe…
It’s a wonder, when the Ineffable walks in the hospital air,
as once His Spirit moved upon the waters of creation!
II
Where does the love come from, that goes like a doctor
from bed to bed, to incline an ear and listen
while the ward awakens like a frightened city
when cries go up from every gate?
And where does the love come from that hangs like a light bulb,
that rouses a lone dreamer from his sleep
until everyone is sitting up, white shapes in stillness,
looking – thinking – when suddenly – a sob takes hold?
And if the sick are close to one another
like the separate rays from one great source of grace,
is this not because, in this coarse and coarsened world,
to them belongs the finest city of them all?
III
For a city looks its best in the final, bloody clots
of day, as the shop doors fold up like quiet hands.

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