Daiga Ellaby via Unsplash


The disbelief was rich. A thing. More
than feel it, I tasted its unending hymn.

Suddenly, in through plasm it poured— 
it being the sense of relief gripping me,

now we knew our child would grow
longer arms, lengthier legs. Its veins

would thrum with blue, used-up blood
which would turn red when its skin broke.

And how excruciating would be the wait
for it to either scream or pick itself up

off the concrete drive, stick a finger
to its scraped knee and turn the blood

like paint it might use to write its name,
right there on the spot! Is that how

we come to measure pain? Take note
of the where and when that hurt us?

I’ll remember forever the dim-lit room,
its chill a rebuff of the day’s swelter,

and how the monitor hung on the wall 
in imitation of every picture frame

ever hung by anyone hoping to refuse
to let go the infectious, happy notes

of their pasts. There’s hurt in that.
Holding something forever-irretrievable,

scalding and simmery, all-smiles. 
My wife let a tear drop. A dark blot

marked our child’s stomach. She cried 
to see it. I stared at her so hard,

but her gaze never left the grayscale
throb of our child’s belly-flopping.

Maybe hope inches after pain. Maybe
our child’s as clueless about it as I am.

I’ll ask anyway. Whisper the question 
to myself, then wait to be taught.

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