A Week of Years – prose poem or flash fiction?

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.

Push.

I can’t.

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.

Memory

With all this anesthesia going on around my household the last few weeks, I have been thinking of the phrase from doctor after doctor…”the medicine will just make him not remember anything.”  I understand the use of medicines to dull pain and to relieve us from the memory of traumatic experiences; still, this phrase has brought to my mind the power of remembering and of what comes from our memories.

What is your earliest memory?  I think mine is when I was a young girl, maybe five years of age, headed up near a fountain of my dad’s law school with my mother and brother as we took a meal to my father, who would be on campus studying all day.  I don’t know why I don’t remember before that…or why that moment stays with me.  I’m sure we brought Dad meals often (at least I think we did).  Curious, isn’t it?

And then, when times get overwhelming or crazy in our family life, I like to remember with my husband our courtship and the feelings we had when we were first becoming acquainted.  I love to recall those memories as they bring me great comfort.

Likewise, when my children have birthdays, we often talk about our memories of their entrances into this life and the events surrounding their births.  They seem to delight in these moments in our memories, even though they do not recall the time of themselves.

But, what if our memories were taken away from us?  What of those with brain injuries or illness which take away fundamental parts of memory?

I loved the film The Vow (2012), which was based on a true story about a woman who suffered memory loss because of an accident and had to reconstruct her life while losing two years of her experiences.  (SPOILER ALERT)  I LOVED that she was able to find her way back to the choices she made previously of her own accord and had hope in the fact that whatever paths we take through our lives’ journeys, we become the people we need to be.  Here is the trailer to give you some flavor of the film (apologizing for the overt skin shown on the frame below, in case that might be offensive):

So, what do memories mean to you?  Do you wish you could take a magic eraser to some parts of your life?  Do you use memories for comfort?  As reminders of lessons learned?