Poet Maria Hummel’s son became ill when he was just a baby, and then again when he was three years old. Hummel wrote “Station” about a train ride she and her son took together when he was unwell.
— Poetry Foundation
I love this poem because it captures what it feels like when one’s child is sick, very sick. This poem speaks to my life at at the moment. You go through motions, do what is necessary…and wait, and hope, and hope.
Days you are sick, we get dressed slow,
find our hats, and ride the train.
We pass a junkyard and the bay,
then a dark tunnel, then a dark tunnel.
You lose your hat. I find it. The train
sighs open at Burlingame,
past dark tons of scrap and water.
I carry you down the black steps.
Burlingame is the size of joy:
a race past bakeries, gold rings
in open black cases. I don’t care
who sees my crooked smile
or what erases it, past the bakery,
when you tire. We ride the blades again
beside the crooked bay. You smile.
I hold you like a hole holds light.
We wear our hats and ride the knives.
They cannot fix you. They try and try.
Tunnel! Into the dark open we go.
Days you are sick, we get dressed slow.