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“The Murmur” by Arthur Sze

December 20, 2010 by Reader's Connection

The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998


 Arthur Sze´s “The Murmur” appears in The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998 ©1998, and is reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.




The Murmur

The doctor flicks on a light,
puts up the X rays of our three-day-old child,
and diagnoses a shunt between
left and right ventricle,
claims an erratic electrocardiogram test
confirms his findings. Your child,
he says, may live three to six weeks unless
surgery is performed.

Two days later, a pediatric cardiologist
looks at the same X rays and EKG test,
pronounces them normal,
and listens with disinterest to the murmur.
I think, then, of the birth:
mother and child in a caesarean,
the rush of blood in the umbilical cord
is a river pulsating with light.

And, as water rippling in a pond
ricochets off rocks, the network of
feelings between father and mother
and child is an ever-shifting web.
It is nothing on your doctor´s X ray
scanner; but, like minerals lit up
under a black light, it is an iridescent
red and green and indigo.


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