Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the time I am being carried on great winds across the sky.
—Chippewa, translated by Robert Bly
You have to love your baby.
I didn’t. Not the mornings
he woke, the wails already trembling
on his tiny rose lips. Not the twisting
and stiffening of his perfectly
muscled limbs. Not his face staining red
as he screamed in my arms.
Not the hours, not the days, not the
weeks nor months of bouncing
and rocking and swaying and swaddling.
I wanted to make it stop. I wanted
a different child, one that would
giggle and babble and gurgle and coo
and smile. It was only after I lost
my every hope and forgot my
last expectation that love came in
with its strong lungs and ferocious will
and it’s broken dreams, it arrived
looking only like the child I held,
not at all like the child I thought I wanted.