Listen to Daniel Bosch reading this poem.
After Emerson's "Brahma"
If, as Mother damply thanks midwife,
Neonate should think, "Sweet gift of life!,"
Bless him, red and wheezing from hard strife,
Whose umbilicus wets my knife.
Anesthesia and shaving cream
Heal the scarred, scare the well-heeled,
And stain the white coats of selfless self-esteem
Hard cash anneals.
Such is the Condition Pre-Existent:
No man can raise decedent co-payees.
Thus I, to mourn the debtor and the debt,
Must waive some fees.
Yet ambulance, taxi, gurney, wheelchair,
Crutch, cane, strong arm of next of kin
Yield unto Kaiser what is Kaiser's—
To the last sovereign.
Daniel Bosch teaches expository writing at Tufts University and is a poetry critic for the Artsfuse.
Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.To submit poetry to Slate, send up to five poems and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Robert Pinsky, Slate Magazine, Boston University, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA, 02215.