Literary Yard

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‘The Water Broke’ and other poems by Mark Tulin

By: Mark Tulin

The Water Broke

My wife’s water broke 
into a thousand tiny pieces,
soaking the maternity bed.
She apologized to the nurse
for the mess she made
and offered to clean it up
and change the sheets. 

She had such a good heart.

There were no sounds in the
middle of the night,
except my wife’s screaming
and the cries of a newborn.

I cut the umbilical cord
with my teeth,
as my legs wobbled
and I collapsed to the floor
while staring straight up
at the fluorescent lights.

A father was born.
A new mother created.
As the two of us wondered
what our baby would become
on the stark maternity ward.


Kid on the Beach

I was that kid on the beach 
with a plastic bucket and shovel,
guarding the hole
I dug in the sand. 

If you were a girl back then,
no matter how cute,
I wouldn’t have let you build sand castles
with me.

I would have said no,
worried what the other boys
would think,

not realizing that you might
have been the sand princess
that I’d be searching
for the rest of my life. 


Double Pneumonia

You give me
double pneumonia.
Your memory kisses the lips
that turn white,
that have no compassion,
that seals my suffering fate.

You take the color from my face,
make my temperature rise.
You turn the joy of life
into a sickness,
into a hacking cough,
a pauper’s demise.

From your lethal beauty,
to the X-rays of your eyes,
you steal my breath,
my silver and gold,
and my healthy state of mind.

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