A Distant Shore
Unable to nurse, your engorged breasts ache
and leak onto a gray hospital gown.
Stoic nuns busy themselves
on newly waxed linoleum floors,
walk around your questions
in their crepe-soled shoes.
Exhausted, you lie in a metal bed,
facial mask soaked with sputum.
The young girl raised in the Alps
at the foot of grandfather whittling
wood into birds and rabbits;
you yearn to be the good mother.
The nuns tell you only I am cared for
yet you worry I may be cold or hungry.
Your anguished cries carry down the tiled halls
of the Tuberculosis ward as a wet-nurse
rocks me in sunlight by wide windows.
I am content on her warm shoulder.
Someday we will realize that this is when
the distance between us was born. It will grow
to be as large as the slate-gray, stormy Atlantic
you once crossed on that rusted transport ship
crowded with war brides. Sailing to America,
impending motherhood, dreams.
In 2006, Bill Wunder’s manuscript Pointing at the Moon was chosen as a finalist in The T.S. Eliot Prize,
The Autumn House Press Poetry Prize, and The May Swenson Poetry Award. Bill, a Pushcart Prize nominee in poetry, was
named Poet Laureate of Bucks County in 2004. His poems have been finalists in The Robert Fraser Competition, The Mad
Poet’s Society Competition two times, and The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards three consecutive years. His work
has appeared in The Manhattan Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Lips, The Mad Poet’s
Review, Drexel University On-Line Journal, and many others.
BILL WUNDER IN THIS EDITION:
POETRY: A Distant Shore