Tuesday, June 1, 2010

{from a work in progress}

the thin blue thread of light

1. dysphoria after labor for eighteen hours

when the doctor pushed for surgery
—a C-section intervening
regardless of us as human beings
or our hope, our plan
for a natural birth—
there was the shock of falling
into that deepest gravity,
fear of all I could lose:
mother, infant,
and all the imagined future—

then there was anger at the doctor blackmailing us
with a release form
(releasing him from blame for deaths
if we waited too long)
paining her even more
at the eighteenth hour—

my anger grew acute in surgery
when the baby’s head was stuck,
seeing how hard he pulled the feet
of our infant’s body stretching so far
it must have hurt beyond
anything it ever felt before
—I wanted to pummel the surgeon,
but could only watch—

but then the surprise
was in the nurse’s hands
feeling the newborn
void, pee and cry
terrorized, it was clear,
in his first world-sized scare—
a folded football body,
sorrowful, slick, anguished
from the torture of being
yanked so hard
from the once-whole womb—

he cried in his first pain
as big as all the space his cry could fill,
but through his wrinkly skin,
he strangely linked
to my hands somehow calming
my small fretful son,
estranged from every
except my voice
heard so often before he was born,
as if it registered,
he responded,
like he knew his father.

and I wanted to live—against my will
because my son needed me to.

a thin blue thread of light through me
lifted my voice—I spoke to him

when I first held his infant self
crying in terror in the sterile OR

I wanted to live—against my will
because my son was born.

2. first impressions

Our son was only a few hours old.
The RN named Lisa was imprinting his feet
into little family photo albums,
and he was crying in fear and frustration
at having his feet moved against his will
over and over, again.
I explained to Lisa
these were gifts for his grandparents.
The baby cried even louder,
so I told him:
“If you think this is bad,
wait till you meet them in real life.”

3. the first night in the hospital

the instant he cried in the dark
I rose from the deep vinyl chair
without sleep,
without thinking—
hanging from a thin blue thread of light from the sky
holding up my head
walking me toward him
over linoleum
lit only by night-lights—
without effort at all
except a kind of submission
to the cry that rose
like another
thin blue thread of light
hanging from the sky

without knowing how I’d know
I lifted him, pacified,
changed and bundled him again—
then felt the ovular indentation encircling his head
—realized he’d been stuck so hard
his skull now had a dent-band—
cradling him on my forearm,
I paced so slowly
his breathing evened
in the near silence of the semi-dark,
and I set him down, deep in sleep.

Sinking into the stiff stuffed chair again,
I was so happy because of him
a smile lifted
every depleted cell in me,
and I was happy because of this
thin blue thread of light
(was it from the sky, or was it from us?)
that interlinks us
and out of pain brings joy.