711 Readings

On the Day You Were Born

I made sandwiches and we ate them poolside
which was in the living room, with the garden hose
streaming from the kitchen sink.  You, in the bulb
of her body, sat in the pool while I strummed
my tinny sunburst guitar.  I was singing to you.

I was trying not to be terrified.   The midwife said
the pool was too comfortable.  On the bed we broke
the membranes, sharp hook to pluck you,
and the flood began.  More water, she said,
than she had ever seen before. 

The heart monitor whirred and strained erratic
in the fashion of an antique fan.  Then slowed
and suddenly the whole room was quiet.
Then suddenly the whole room was loud
and I was on the phone trying to explain

a problem with words I didn’t understand.
Prolapsed cord. Possible abruption.  Six men with remarkably
large boots stormed into the bedroom
in what must have looked like a budget porn gone wrong.
Mom-to-be on her knees, rear in the air, the arm

of our midwife deep inside her, pushing back
at the unborn’s ready head.  We rode all the way
to the hospital in this position while her arms
went numb and she barked at me for trying
to stay calm.  I felt like a cloud. 

Heavy, but of no substance.
You nearly pushed through me then, when I didn’t know
how much I could lose.  Sandwiches.  My god. 
I would never stop singing to you,
if I could just hold you in my arms.
Posted 09/11/12
This poem first appeared in Willow Springs.