POETRY I BY JOHN DAVID BRANTLEY PROFESSIONALS Toward close of day in your room When you’d not known to name my name Or anyone’s for most a week, But lay still and silent there, laboring to live. I sat beside to reach and touch and will your life. A few professionals came and went as always, The tedious round of checking vital signs. But sudden knowledge came among them And increase of numbers and motion That moved me to the foot to stand and watch `Tit one, “She’s not breathing:’ And “No pulse!” And “Do not resuscitate:’ And I said, “Yes, that’s right,” As I might have said some ordinary thing. Then all stopped and stood a little time, And I felt a knowing reaching for me. But the professionals turned suddenly Into people with kind voices: “Could I call someone for you? A counselor?” Which I ignored, but one sweet soul, “Would you like me to drive you home? “I’d be glad to drive you home:’ And the knowing reached me. REARRANGEMENTS I know three things that cause it: A move into a new place, The death of a loved one, Or discovering you’ve stored The batteries in three different Locations. I mean the thing That moves us to clean the house And rearrange the stuff we keep In drawers, on shelves, and hanging In the closet. Until one day you find You’re lost and cannot find the batteries Or anything, you’ve rearranged so well. And those same things will bring Your mind up short. You find yourself At pause one day before a picture On the wall or deep in meditation Of a band of sunlight through a window, With thirty minutes since you knew What brought you to that time and place. Familiar turns of thought won’t work Their subjects all are gone; you have To rearrange your mind and learn To live your life therein. JOHN DAVID BRANTLEY, a native of Yancey, Texas, was for many years chairman of the Department of English at Trinity University in San Antonio. Naomi Shihab Nye NOVEMBER 30, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21
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