Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Night Watch

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Night Watch

Article excerpt

A man was driving past the hospital with his son

when he felt a fluttering in his chest

which at first he took for nerves, because it was snowing

very hard and his young son was cranky

and squirming and how could he possibly see the road

with all this weather?

Then his hand began

to hurt, and then his wrist and arm,

so he pulled to the side of the road,

where, moments later, he died.


And the snow fell like angels,

and the boy watched

them cover the windows. Such snow

he had never seen, his father

asleep beside him, snow sifting

over the hush of the city and the car,

which grew darker,

dark as his room at night

and quiet, buried in snow.

And soon, he, too,

was asleep. And soon, the engine died.


made up this story

sitting beside my father's bed.

Outside the hospital,

it had begun to snow,

capping the cars twenty stories down.

And the liquid in his lungs,

the drip and its clear tube,

the nurses lost to their machines and trays,

the sun long set

in a whirl of snow, I hoped,

the brain goes dim and cold, a hush of snow

when the breathing stops

and the heart beats on

for a minute or so


And all night long, cars swooped past the hospital,

headlights and wipers,

men hunched in their cockpits

through the blinding snow toward home. …

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