Thanks for all the feedback and love from yesterday. Finishing April (National Poetry Month) with one more:
A Week of Years
I don’t care if I have any sweat left inside me. My body feels wet and dry, hot and cold, purple and pale.
I can’t do this.
After being up through the night with contractions, I’m repeating that phrase.
I can’t do this.
I want it to be over, but I don’t even know what “it” is.
A nurse dabs perspiration from my forehead with an already-moist washcloth, and I try again.
You can, the doctor says. But I don’t believe him. You can. Push.
The white ceiling tiles with little black specks resemble a reverse sky. If I could push though the floors above me, I could see real stars, celestial bodies to comfort my own trembling.
I tighten my core, encapsulating him into a cocoon-hug, but the baby I’m supposed to be delivering isn’t little and isn’t moving. Fatigue is taking over and I want to give in to sleep. To drift away into nothingness—a subconscious world of flying clocks and living in houses that are prettier than my own. But I am back in this room, this bed, feet pulled toward my chest and a baby crowning between my legs.
Push. Push. I don’t remember how to pull strength from somewhere. Bare walls, shined floor, a bright light replacing one ceiling tile all remind me that I’m still here.
Push. Push. Push.
I can’t hear him. He’s not crying. I can see his blue body in the doctor’s arms, and I feel like it’s over.
I want to rewind the last minutes, hours, days, to when he kicked under my ribs, when he pressed his foot against my stomach and I rubbed the heel through layers of skin, uterus, and amniotic fluid. When he was alive and we worked together. When we felt like one.
Then, his cry slices through the room, a sound sweeter than anything I’ve ever tasted.