John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Poet's Corner: Shoulders

It's a rainy day in Madison, and I've been thinking about a Day of Service I'm going to try to put together for this coming January, so this poem seems somewhat apropos.

Shoulders

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.

We're not going to be able
to live in this world
if we're not willing to do what he's doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

Naomi Shihab Nye (born 1952)

From Red Suitcase. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 1994. Reprinted without permission.

Tags: poet's corner, poetry
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