(a found poem)
Next to the bearded lady, premature babies.
Lined up under heaters, they breathed filtered air.
No more than three pounds. Infants in incubators -
part of the carnival; a quarter to see.
The Incubator Doctor, an oddity - premature
babies, expected to die.
Dr. Couney used local babies, employed
a French head nurse, new mothers to give milk.
In 1911 his reputation tarnished - Dreamland
went up in flames.
The babies, safely whisked to Luna Park, though
The New York Times reported that six had burned to death.
He carried a crook- handed cane, called himself
a propagandist for the premature; saved at least 6,500.
All those quarters bought him a big house
at Sea Gate; he died forgotten.
Today pretty girls and seagulls play their games;
nobody has seen the likes of him for 60 years.
All lines of the poem taken from the article: And Next to the Bearded Lady, Premature Babies by Michael Brick. New York Times, June 12, 2005.
Amy Schreibman Walter's debut chapbook, Coney Island and Other Places, was published in January 2013 by Lulu Press. Her poems have appeared in various online and in print journals, including Metazen and Elimae. You can find her here: www.amyschreibmanwalter.com