Art Heifetz

Bad News

Bad news is a basset hound
familiar with your scent.
It always finds you out.
Shut down your cellphone,
close your inbox,
burrow six feet under,
a mole will deliver the message.

It never comes on grim grey days,
it’s always bright blue skies and
hovering above the hydrangeas.

I am a child sitting on the stairs,
barely making out
the hushed voices of my parents,
staring through the bars
at their stunned expressions
as they replace the receiver.
An aunt has been eaten alive by cancer,
a cousin killed by a drunk driver,
an uncle shaken by Parkinson’s.
I cover my ears.

The policeman
who shows up at our door
after our son is killed,
has a congenial manner
which belies the news
he is about to spring,
but one glance at his knotted brow
Tells me our son is dead.

It would be a miracle,
the surgeon says,
If her tumors disappeared.
I pretend I haven’t heard.

We find out through an e-mail
that part of Picky’s jaw
has been removed.
We’re informed by text
that David has been shot
while fishing in the park.

I want to bury my head
In your breast
so that I cannot see
the bad news oscillating
across the screen
In red and green and blue,
so that I cannot hear
the calm voice of the nurse
asking us to leave.

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