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.
Bill Wunder’s poems have twice been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, and in 2004 he was named Poet Laureate of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His poems have been a finalist in The Robert Fraser Poetry Competition, The Mad Poet’s Society Competition twice, and The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards three times. Recently, his work has appeared in The Manhattan Review, Lips, The Paterson Literary Review, Mad Poet’s Review, Drexel University On-Line Journal, Wild River Review, and others. He has read or lectured in many venues, including local schools, James A. Michener Museum, Bucks County Community College, The Poetry Project at The Montgomery Theater and The Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series sponsored by the National Park Service. Via Dolorosa Press in Cleveland, Ohio published Bill’s chapbook titled A Season Of Storms. His book Pointing At the Moon is forthcoming from Wordtech Communications.