I found the miraculous in the dim lamp that hung above your head,
I found the miraculous in the hospital lobby—
a bag of candy hearts left by a child whose mother
ached in a blue chair. The voices of sick and well
mingled across the linoleum floor.
I found the miraculous in the closed section of the parking lot under construction,
blue white exhaust of cigarette smoke rising from the engines
of nurses and doctors hiding their hearts under skin.
If they take veins from your legs, connect them
to your stunted heart, you may walk again, Dad.
I called you that a few times
but always felt more comfortable with Bill.
I found it miraculous the way you filled up
12 gallon garbage cans with Bud Ice.
Doctor tells me, He doesn’t stop, he’ll die.
I found the miraculous in water welling from the sink—
spilling onto the blue bath mat like saints.
Miraculous the way rain can be determined.
I found the miraculous in rows of empty wheelchairs, folded
backs like geese huddled together.
A building full of vacant hallways. Each room with two beds,
a television, a partition. Miraculous
the way it’s hard to not look into the rooms,
as if suffering hearts beckon like bird calls.
I found the miraculous cupped in the hands of a woman
whose sobs began the moment the elevator door closed slow
like a good book. I wanted to hug her, tell her It’ll be okay, even though
I didn’t know her and am never sure that it will be.
I found myself saying nothing as we exited.
I never found the miraculous in my father, or the son
I’ll never have, both of them ghosts.
I pass my grade school on the drive home,
think of all the times I lied
during confession, made up sins to be forgiven,
never realizing the weight the world has in store—
the way you can be buried yet walking
and very much alive.
Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its weekly online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to firstname.lastname@example.org
Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.