Bedtime Story

Dec 29, 2017

Today’s poem is “Bedtime Story” by Candice Stover. Candice lives in Somesville and teaches writing workshops to all levels of writers. She’s the author of three books, most recently Poems from the Pond.

She writes, “ 'Bedtime Story' is about…a real flatbed, traveling from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard. But it’s also carrying bigger stories-- loss, grief—(and) where we find solace.”

Bedtime Story
by Candice Stover

for Peter Sandberg

Once there was a man plunged into dark
when his heart’s companion vanished.
He wheeled her, wing and bone, to the bright mouth
of the ambulance on their shady street
and watched her disappear down the avenue
where solitude appeared:
hunk of grief, fist and ache, the hole of all
that was.

Once there was a man following a flatbed
hauling two engraved gravestones
(one his own). He swung into that lane
behind the letters of his name
and saw his birth date by the blank
left for his death, shocked
by completion on the stone beside it.
Where does the beloved go?

(And if he floored the pedal, crashing
into that flatbed scene ahead? Wow,
the medic might say, this guy traveled
prepared
.)

Once there was a man stroking the calm skin
of a pond at dusk, slipping his canoe
among cries of loons, cries
that settled in the throats of lilies, each petal
a vivid piece cut from this first summer
without her. Later, in a cabin built for two,
he pressed a night-light (shaped like a shell)
into the wall, reached through the dark and slept,
like a child, on his own.

Poem copyright © 2007 Candice Stover.
Reprinted from Poems from the Pond, Deerbrook Editions, 2007,
by permission of Candice Stover.