Tyler and Lily and Mozart
The lungs of these babies lack breath
for crying. Their incubators mute
sounds. There’s electronic anxiety,
you hear its beeps, pings and bells. Also
a taut mother who tells a midwife
she’s sure something’s wrong with his face
and why won’t the doctors say, are they
hiding something? You hear two midwives’
soft talk as they change a feeding tube.
Another reaches through a porthole
of an incubator, lifts Tyler
(29 weeks) now eighteen days,
holds in her palm the least bottomy
bottom in the world and tells Tyler
he’s doing so well while a student
midwife changes his sheet. You hear wheels
on the firm floor and this faint sound,
as if you imagine music. Go
over to Lily, here since April,
but may get home to Nelson next week.
A blanket covers the curve of clear
plastic above her face. Put your ear
close. There. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
You and Lily listen to Mozart.
horse with a white blaze that trots to meet
you. Its coat is stuck together with
mud. You pick sprigs of tree lucerne from
the yard of the white wooden church
on the corner of State Highway 6.
The leaves smell of summer, its flowers
are sweet white buds. From the dark curve of
his eyes he regards us. When I want
to feed him bit by bit, he uses
his deft tongue and blunt teeth to snatch up
the bunch from my hand. You know a damp
bank of herbs. In the spring you gather
cress, clover and tree lucerne, a huge
leafy bouquet to please the hungry
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Bush lives in Nelson. Her first two books of poetry, The Hungry Woman and The Unfortunate Singer, are published by Victoria University Press. In late 2004 she was Poet in Residence at Wellington Hospital. Her new book, All Patients Report Here, to be published by Wai-te-ata Press in December 2006, draws on this experience, as does ‘Tyler, Lily and Mozart’.