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Two Poems by Suzanna C. de Baca

by Suzanna C. de Baca

I Was Swallowed by a Beam of Light

Some say you were a plane, a flare, a mirage. / At first barely visible in the sky /but then your light grew

more intense / pulsating / and the sound surrounded me, / prickly heat on my skin / building, moving,

exploding suddenly/ until everything dissolved. / Some say I dreamed it all. / But I know. / I was

swallowed by a ray, / a thought, / a beam of force, / a slice of night / a phantom slipping from the other

side. / Some say it was my fault, / that I should not have been there. / That I should have cried out, fought

back / turned and bolted. / But most say I imagined it all. / How could the light have swallowed you /

when you were so small? / How can goodness even be questioned?


Shadows in a Clinical Setting

I stood in the corner of the bright sterile room / shadowing the doctor in her stark white coat /

fluorescent lights above emitting a cicada hum. / The nurse guided you in and helped you recline

on the table / gently / the white paper crinkling beneath you. / A policeman in a black uniform /

holding a gun / stood on one side of the room / and a representative of the state / stood on the

other. / You trembled and moaned / fighting the nausea of being eight weeks along. / The doctor

leaned in and lightly touched your shoulder / fitting your feet into the metal stirrups / and guiding

your body to the edge of the table / whispering in a soft and reassuring voice: / Just relax, / it

will feel a little like a pelvic exam. / You were so tiny on the table, barely visible, / your hair in

pigtails and pink rubber bands. / Gazing up at her, you asked, / What’s a pelvic exam? / The

doctor looked over at me. / Our eyes met and widened. / They’d told us beforehand it was your

mother’s boyfriend, / how you’d been removed from the home / and the representative of the

state / had inherited your file. / I looked over at the case worker and I could see she’d gone white

/ but she just said / We’ll hold your hand/ and it will all be done soon. / After it was over

they told me you had just turned nine. /


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