Patricia Deaton’s “Bless His Heart” after Miracle of Hickory

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Patricia Deaton
Bless His Heart
after “The Miracle of Hickory”

Pants down, faces caved as long painful
needles bore into buttocks, inoculating us
at school–a parade of cherry suckers, wet
with tears and snot. Polio, a rousing word
like a schoolyard game, struck fear in parents
back then. It deformed children, could kill.

Mama’s baby, only boy–my stuttering
brother had rickets, heartbreaking blue eyes.
That l950s morning when he yelled from bed
“M-M-Mamaaaaaa. I can’t g-g-get up”,
our mother screamed for my sister and me
to get in our room. In that moment, horrible

stories came true–my six-year-old brother
doomed, iron lung, heavy steel braces, withered
legs, and worse. We waited the eternity it took
for Mama to laugh as she pulled him from
cowboy pajama top, stuck to bed sheet
by a buckaroo-sized wad of pink bubblegum.

Patricia Deaton stands amid the Miracle of Hickory exhibit at Hickory Museum of Art on March 28, 2015 at the Art of Poetry event. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

About missmellibrary

A children's librarian who loves to excite youth about reading!
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2 Responses to Patricia Deaton’s “Bless His Heart” after Miracle of Hickory

  1. “Buckaroo-sized-wad”–what a great phrase. What a wonderful twist from beginning to end of poem! Ann Chandonnet

  2. Kelly DeMaegd says:

    I love the tragedy, suspense and humor of this poem! Beautiful job, Patricia!

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