"The Child in the Next Bed (for Luis)"
The child in the next bed has the biggest eyes I have ever seen.
© 2000 Caballo Oscuro
Liquid and dark, he has a smile that brightens them beautifully.
Inside his small body lies the heart of a lion, the soul of an angel.
Almost all has been taken from him, yet his first thought is to give,
give his precious toy to me, and I am humbled.
Little creatures run and jump, on the screen, I have no idea of this;
it is a child’s game. He leans across his bed, making me understand.
My failures at this game make him laugh, so I try to fail some more.
I am introduced to his mother like an old friend; she wears her hurt
more casually now, he is going to stay with her after all.
The child in the next bed is called Luis; he is sunshine in miniature,
scarred by a car and his intent following of his football.
He tells me, when it is dark, and he is afraid of wolves and monsters
that if we pushed our beds closer together, we could make them go away.
I want to hold him, but we are both chained to machines that do not understand.
He asks me, quietly, as the moths fly disoriented without light,
“Are you still there?” And I ask of him the same, when I know he is asleep.
Such a big bed for a little one, I tell him to curl up small,
and the monsters will not see him; I will frighten them away.
The child in the next bed has an innocence that frightens me,
with only a mother for visitor, a mother worn and full of love.
I wonder at his life ahead, think of the years before him.
Wonder if he will ever remember our hands held at midnight,
a midnight full of monsters, most of them our own creation.
[This piece was originally written in Spanish and translated into English]
I write of things that are important to me, things that touch my soul. I have not been writing for very long, but it is an important part of my life. I cannot imagine that I could live without writing now. I was born on “The Smallest Continent,” Gran Canaria, and am influenced greatly by the peace and beauty that surrounds me everyday, and, of course, by life’s greatest motivator, love. I thank Wild Poetry Forum for being available to me, and am grateful for the encouragement and kindness the contributors have shown to me.
You are cordially invited to experience more of Caballo at Wild Poetry Forum, where his work is featured.
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And the Critics Say ~~
"I was breathless after reading Caballo Oscuro's "The Child In The Next Bed." Please tell him for me I will never forget his poem. It will stay with me and I will see them -- both him and the little boy who is "curled into a little ball" -- in my dreams. His poem has moved me more than any poem I have encountered online, or anyplace else for that matter. I need him to know how I appreciate his gift of words. This is the poem I wish I had written! Please thank him for me, M. I know what he refers to, in a different way, but the same. And I love his voice!"