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Posts Tagged ‘birth’

I meet her at the Peace Garden gathering

where she’s singing and dancing for peace.

It’s September 11, and her belly is round

and moon-ish. She has no wrinkles yet,

no flashes of gray in her hair.

She is so sincere as she recites poems,

as if with right words and right songs

and right moves she could help

create a peaceful world that her baby will enter.

She’s a month away from her due date

and I don’t tell her those cramps she’s feeling

are contractions. I don’t tell her

he’ll cry for a year. I don’t tell her

about how they’ll laugh too loud together

how they’ll both thrive in the small night hours,

how sixteen years later she’ll marvel

at how love rules her life

in the fiercest and most tender ways,

how the boy will have grown to six foot four,

how he will teach her about fast cars and graphic cards

and forgiveness and humility and apps.

Sixteen years later, she will be less herself

and more something larger, more

driven by love than ever, though it

is nothing she could have imagined.

No, I just say, Nice to meet you. You look familiar,

like a woman I used to know well.

And she smiles in a dreamy far off way.

She thinks she knows what will happen.

Yes, I remember that well.

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Before you were born,

your hand had more muscles,

for instance the dorsometacarpales,

a reptilian remnant, an atavistic relic

from when all blood was cold blooded.

By the time you were thirteen weeks

in utero, a third of the muscles

in your hands and feet had fused

with other muscles. Your body

simply deleted them, proof

that before we are born,

before we are ready

to inhabit our forms,

we are in some ways

made less complex.

I think of this now as I open my hand

for your hand, think

of how much things change.

How once we had fins, then claws.

And now, look at us,

with hands that might caress,

might soothe, might reach.

God, this impulse to be warm.

And I think of how sometimes,

growth means to become more simple.

This is my prayer. To do

what the nascent body can do:

to remember where I came from,

to streamline, to know what is needed,

to know what to let go.

https://earthsky.org/human-world/Evolutionary-remnants-muscles-human-embryos

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Devourer

I was born with ten thousand mouths,

all of them hungry. Feed me,

I said to the lake, and it spilled into me

its deep green and its months of ice

and its forgotten bottom. Feed me,

I said to the hill, and it filled me

with shadows and stones

and the tunnels of mice. Feed me,

I said to the mountain, and it served me

glacier and couloir and avalanche paths.

And still I was hungry. Feed me, I said,

to the book, to the priest, to the tree,

to the moon, to the man, to the boy,

to the song, to the earth. And I ate

and I ate and I ate and still I was hungry.

Feed me, said the world. And I did.

I fed it my heart, my hours, my eyes.

And for the first time, I felt full.

I was born out of loss. Year after year,

I took the world into me. At last

I find myself in the world.

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