Epistle: A Broken Sonnet
Jeff Newberry (bio)
Friend—I’ve heard the four a.m. coughs,
stood by the crib to count spaces between breaths.
I’ve sat in a doctor’s office & tried to make
words make sense: Spina Bifida, birth defect.
I’ve Googled & searched, read, bled, talked
& still I can’t find the words to tell you
what it’s like to watch her walk on legs
her body conspired to deaden. I’ve begged
God for answers & felt like a surly teen
come in past curfew. Why are you so mad
at me? What did I ever do to you? Sad
old man, rocking-chair bound, knee-length
beard, cudgel in hand, sitting up all night
after checking my room & killing the light.


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