Motorcycle Ward

Moolten, David

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Jan-11-1999


The speaker's high school classmate was "scraped out from under an eighteen-wheeler" after an accident while driving his Harley 650. Along with the other seniors, the speaker "paraded to say goodbye / On the trauma floor." One of the surgeons called the place "the motorcycle ward." They saw everything in the ward--the pain, the casts, the equipment--but the speaker also saw within himself "the closeness / To the dead that comes with fear, / A sleeping empathy."


This poem evokes an adolescent's awakening to his own mortality through an empathic connection with his classmate's tragic plight.

Primary Source

Plums and Ashes


Northeastern Univ. Press

Place Published