Hope for HIE – Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Hope for HIE – Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy


Dragon Cabin

By Nick Burton


Twenty-four hours not sleeping
Ambulance raced, filled with strangers
When once we dreamed of green meadows,
Now we ride down an ice ramp.
The hill is steep and was not seen approaching
Our cabin lost in the snowstorm
You, the emerged baby bird not yet thriving



Your cherub face quiet, eyes still closed
Surrounded by an array of singing engineering
Dancing doctors bother your body
As Papa scrutinizes what they pursue
And Mama is miles away recovering
A mountain goat teeters above the path he’s choosing
While others imagine him falling

My eyes flood before first sleeping
This hurt immersed, the world not acknowledging
How doesn't everyone know this happened?
Praying to a never-met deity in a hospital chapel
Asking for help with waking and breathing
Wondering if I’m doing it right,
And if praying first for others might be helpful

Neurologist ghouls practice soul crushing
Possessed by the worry of raising our hopes
Their dragon eyes read MRIs
Heads shaking quietly in examination
Afraid to discuss results with us,
As if we had auditioned poorly
Voicing the never-wills of a ten-day-old

Weeks and months of cafeteria eating
That sweet cashier with the mindful way
Lets us pay like employees
‘Cause she knows how long we’ve been sledding
The snow is cold, the hill is endless,
The ice forever frozen
While in the cabin lie sleeping dragons

Simple dreams of tasting birthday cakes,
Crafting Legos and waving at puppies
Meeting your first girlfriends
And bicycle rides together
Star Wars and beating you at video games
Replaced now with a more basic focus
And complex wishes for simple functions

Breaking down watching a toddler be scolded
Wanting to grab the fortunate father
And tell him to just enjoy his son
Finally understanding the gift we’ve been given
That love can eclipse the fear and worry
Each small gain an immense triumph
And nothing is assumed when so little is granted

Your movements sparse, and no smile yet
Not sure how well your eyes can see us
Your processes still under construction
But we still feel your contentment,
As Papa sings you to sleep each night
And your eyes light up when Mama calls
Out to you when she gets home

I watch you sleep and fill my heart
Knowing the dragons can't hurt us
They no longer sleep in our cabin shelter
And their shaking heads breathe no more fire
Their forked-tongue prognosis is tempered
When armed with hope and love
Our sled built stronger each day with you

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