Dr. Robert H. Deluty

Empathy

One-year-old,
Teething, miserable,
Refuses to suffer quietly.
Mother tries every trick:
Each is met with tears, tantrums.
Exhausted, hopeless,
Mother screams, then sobs.
Seeing an adult cry
For the first time,
Child quiets down,
Hands mother her bottle.

Six-Year-Old Theologian

Uncommonly solemn,
Sadly concludes
There’s one thing
God cannot do —
Have a birthday party.

Poetic Progression

Editor’s rejection,
Author’s dejection,
Greater reflection,
Substantial correction,
Approaches perfection.

Disconnected

The nearly deaf elder
Struggling mightily to hear.
The newly verbal toddler
Groping to make desires known.
Both enraged . . .
One unable to understand.
The other, to be understood.

Birth Father, Birth Mother

She never asks about him.
It’s always her —
How old was she?
What did she look like?
Why did she give me up?
Did she ever hold me?
His absence barely registers.
Hers continues to puzzle
And wound.

Dr. Robert H. Deluty has been a psychology professor at the University of drMaryland, Baltimore County since 1980, and is presently the associate dean of the Graduate School.  For 18 years, he served as the director of the clinical psychology doctoral program. His poems and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, Modern Haiku, The Pegasus Review, Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy, and many other newspapers, journals, and anthologies. His 49th book, “A Mingled Yarn,” was published in August, 2015.