Stopping by the Site of the Old Children’s Hospital

Travelling into the foothills

near the Lakeview graves within

sight of Lake Bonneville and

 

With the gulls of the Shoreline,

we spot the empty lot and

scattered bricks overlooking the Valley,

 

And sitting there stilled by the silence

of the missing red brick walls–

which hold the stories of the children

 

Of the Intermountain West-

who had the diseases of youth,

and their families who hold

 

The secrets that only parents keep

and store and share

for others who are to hear them,

 

And the walls which recall and reflect and deflect

the cries of those who are held for a spinal tap

or who can tell by the eyes of the resident

 

That another line must be placed or

who need another cutdown, another blood gas,

or whatever….they don’t want…(but need)

 

Or the words “I am afraid he has leukemia…

Down syndrome…a brain tumor…kidney failure…

she needs the heart surgery…the tumor removed…

 

We won’t be able to do anymore for her…or

Doctor, are you sure…Doctor, aren’t there any other medicines…

or does she need to go through another course of chemo…

 

Another shunt replacement…another tube…

is there any hope…isn’t there any hope’’

Or the words “she is gone…or

 

This is what we call SIDS”, or

“he did well with the surgery, or

most babies with this make it through…or

 

We have medicines for this…or…”

and the calls for help

and the replies for help.

 

Red brick and walls shelter and store

these calls, cries, replies, words,

moments in the lives and loves of parents

 

And children and doctors and nurses

connecting and sharing, not connecting,

responding, not responding, separated, together

 

And now the walls are gone from this place,

bricks scattered on the ground-

soon to be the place for the town houses of the north Avenues-

 

–we gather up three bricks from the site

and take them to the New Hospital and place

them in the walls where the cries and words

 

Can connect, as they are not scattered

and will not be forgotten for they are

ever present in the walls of the hearts of the parents.

 

The site is ready now,

overlooking the Valley, the view of Bonneville Lake,

ready to accept this other side

 

The town houses,

and the

rest of the city….