This is your birth:
it is a full pallet of emotions
but the shade is dark
there are streaks of light -
like when we’re at home and your waters break
I sit on the toilet with a smirk
That little light
in the circle of chaos -
that’s when our eyes first met
you searched me hard with all your heart
and mine broke into a million pieces under the weight of you.
There are more tunnels of brightness
but they’re all contained in dark swaths -
the nurse who snatched you while yelling at me
then stormed away with you.
I sit alone, amputated at the soul
silent tears fall in buckets until
you return. I hold you tight the whole time,
guarding you like a prized piece of art under glass.
They come in the middle of the night
peel you from my arms while we sleep.
They must weigh you – again – like a caught fish out of water.
How much weight can a baby lose in 24 hours?
I wake forty minutes later to your return
the plastic box on wheels she carts you in
like you’re the leftover chicken salad someone left on their plate
too gross to handle; too dirty to touch
she doesn’t even bother scraping you off to my disposable arms.
My primal brain short-circuits
my heart reaches up to my throat
pulls me up out of bed and draws me to you.
I breathe your sweet scent deep into my lungs,
touch my lips to your feathery hair, press them into your squishy skull
and gingerly tiptoe back to our bed
the railroad tracks running between my legs burn
as I lift my leg to slide in. I take it in trade
you are the oil that runs through in smooth sheets
my engine purrs soft and steady.
The next round comes shortly to tear you away
place you in your safe, solid container
the one free of birthing exhaustion
and crushing arms
I wait for her squeaky shoe to leave the room
then sneak to retrieve you from your plastic tub.
We play this game of tug-of-war
one more whole day.
When we get home, I almost never put you down.