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Begonia Leaves

When I was four, and had
measles as it turned out, they
bedded me down on the couch
in my grandfatherís study and
pulled the curtains in the afternoon.
I was so sick I didnít even protest over
the strange woman they got in
to tend me when they had to go out
to a funeral. I remember only
being utterly miserable, and silent,
and staring at the navy-blue curtains
with huge yellow pears on them, lit
from behind by the sunlight.
They burned an impression on
my eyelids, those glowing pears,
so vivid it recalls not just that
particular afternoon but also its era.

Now the baby in my belly is making me
writhe and sigh as if my own bed were
a ship tossing on a stormy afternoon.
I am so sick I donít protest
the weeks of doing nothing but staring
at the sheer curtain against which
the antique cranberry-glass vase
harmonizes perfectly with the deep red
round leaves of a potted begonia
veined with green and backlit by sun.
I believe I will remember
this indelible image, still printed
on the insides of my eyelids, when
I am lying in bed for the last time,
sixty-four, eighty-four Ė will remember
this moment, and the era, when
a new daughter or son swam
unfinished within me, innocent
of sight, but turned toward the light,
awaiting the impressions of
his or her own lifetime.

Liza McAlister Williams

If you have any comments on this poem,  Liza McAlister Williams   would be pleased to hear from you.

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