Lee Upton


The Crying Room - Poem by Lee Upton

The church had a crying room—
up at the opposite side of the altar.
Good for the baby.
It was glass on all sides like a tank.
A microphone brought in the priest’s voice.
From the crying room we could see
how things happened backstage:
someone coming to the priest
with a bell and a napkin.
We weren’t soundproof.
Every time the baby cried
a pewful turned to us.
But then, after a point,
the parishioners were almost used to
the intermittent little shrieks,
the baby wanting down,
wanting up.
This was in a town
with the sea just a block away
and remarkable sea winds,
winds to lift, to accost, to warn.
I was holding the crying baby
behind the glass doors.
I could look out at the parishioners
who had gone to the trouble
to make a place for the smallest
throats among them,
even though they were used
to being pushed by invisible forces.
They were right to put distractions
ahead of them in glass
as if to preserve and in
preserving to distort,
and yet not fail to see
exactly who made trouble for them.


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Read poems about / on: baby, sea, warning, wind



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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