“In Praise of Jonathan Matthew” by Kerrin McCadden

Kerrin McCadden


God bless Jonathan Matthew, asleep
on the table, a piece of his liver plucked
out and planted in the jaundiced boy
from up the road, for Jonathan Matthew’s
weak thumbs-up, his face swollen, his wife
falling all over him lit by the kind of love
I don’t know yet, for the way the liver regrows,
in him and in the boy, to full-size within weeks,
like an ancient memory of starfish inside us,
for the pink cheeks on the boy from up the road,
just days later, who sits next to Jonathan Matthew
under a tree, the boy in a hospital gown and gloves,
Jonathan Matthew already in his work-clothes,
ready to respond to our heart attacks and house
fires when the siren warns the village,
our own Prometheus defying the gods.

Poets Respond
July 11, 2015

[download audio]


Kerrin McCadden: “This poem is in response to small town news, but about something so shockingly beautiful that I can’t stop thinking about it. One of our volunteer firefighters just donated half of his liver to a teenager in our town, who was dying of liver failure. I live next door to the volunteer firehouse, and every time emergency vehicles leave, which is often, I’m undone by what that kind of volunteering means, but this? Oh my God. Jonathan Matthew is my neighbor, and now, also, some kind of god.” (website)

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