I awoke
My child was crying, whimpering
A prayer I murmured for God’s help
and wondered was this it
So young but so many errors
I had given her
A heart displaced, blood streaming
the wrong way on a one-way path
walls not flush, giving way to each pump
I cursed Him and pleaded and bargained
why could it not be me
Little Jessica in her cute red shoes
running and playing with no concern
this beautiful child often visited my sleep.
But the beautiful child lay still
barely able to eat
sometimes unable to breathe
Seldom did the doctors attend my unfortunate church
they preached a sermon I did not understand
Asking questions that went unanswered
And in return leaving me no answers
The unadvised acolyte visited often
attempting to comfort with words
of scholarship but nonetheless
blissful in his ignorance
Poor child
cut open so often
So many stitches in a small space
This first line which tied you to this world
I know so well.
My desperation led to the cascade of otehrs
They had a life of their own it seemed
All I had to do was sign on the dotted line
for a few more weeks of hope.
The crying dies down
The flashes of light
and sounds of life continue
With eyes closed you turn to me
and sign “Not tonight”
and fall back asleep
My prayer answered for now
I fall asleep and hope for a dreamless night.

Biraju Patel, Class of 2001