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Had To Wait My Whole Life Till Now

Jun. 3, 2013
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Then there was the time the visiting nurse Debbie

Showed me how to empty the plastic pouch of lung fluid

draining from Jeff’s left lung

from a tube inserted there

after his cancer surgery

And after my showing her I could do it with her watching me

measuring the lung fluid collected in the beaker

recording time, date, amount on the drainage log

While taking a break talking together

learning we liked birds she told us

How one hot summer morning

she was lounging in a chair

in her restored prairie backyard

and happened to have bright red lipstick on

When suddenly a ruby-throated hummingbird

flew up to her face, hovered there

then gently inserted his or her beak

between her red lips

and she could feel its tongue

going in and out her mouth

searching for nectar

while it made high-pitched chirping sounds

looking into her eyes

and her first thought was—

“I had to live my whole life till now

To be french-kissed by a hummingbird!”




Antler was keynote poet speaker at the National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago in April.  He and Jeff Poniewaz were the featured keynote poets at the November 2012 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets gathering in Stevens Point.  Antler has poems in the recent anthologies—Collecting Life: Poets on Objects Known & Imagined; Comeback Wolves: Welcoming the Wolf Home; Poets Against the War; and In the Spirit of T’ao Ch’ien.  “Had to Wait My Whole Life Till Now” is from Touch Each Other, his new collection from FootHills Publishing in New York state (on sale at Woodland Pattern).



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