When I was younger I’d dream of birth,
huge and swollen, reaching down and reeling, feeling the head emerge from me,
me pulling the baby out and joyful and tear-streaked in the dream,
presenting the child to my mother.
She would be so proud.
Real life far more real and unreal and a body so huge,
waves of red blinding pain cracking me round the middle as if I were some kind of walnut,
a kind of pain ripping and large a feeling that took me outside myself
watching me being lifted and taken
and still I would not open.
The greatest pleasure the absence of pain, ahhhhhh epidural,
as doctors and midwives scurried, reaching arms, wrists inside me to check on my progress,
and liquid running, gushing from me,
hot and loud and my blushing from the dark nastiness and glory of it all.
I was truly a virgin until that point.
Finally, mind cracked open by 30 hours and pain,
and my heart, cracked wide by truth,
I opened, then.
That passageway, reality of blinding pain even with drugged relief,
my mother at my side crying with me as she witnessed me,
her telling me
how I was her salvation after daddy died, died in front of us,
and I believed her for just one moment,
that I was.
I reached down and felt his head, soft and wet and like an animal,
more animal than I ever imagined,
howled and pushed him out into this world,
not minding tears, not minding snot running down my face,
clenching my love’s hand to the breaking point
I said, as he left my body,
give him to me, give him to me.
I remember the sound I made.
Laid on my stomach, covered in blood, and wax, and me,
and olive oil drizzled on him by the midwife to ease his passage,
he smelled like the ocean and moss and copper,
and like me
and like nothing I would smell again.
Soft and wet and mine.
I was ripped apart at my seams, but whole.
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