Poetry Month 2023 Poem-A-Day Post #30: “New Life/New Death”
April is #NationalPoetryMonth and I am posting a Poem-A-Day. Today’s post is #30 and so my last of this series. Today is also my son’s 23rd birthday. I wrote this poem many years ago and it appears in my first book, Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ in my chapter on pregnancy.
NEW LIFE/NEW DEATH
There was an opening—
a way in, but not all the way.
It was all so natural. I knew. I knew.
Confirmation. Heart beating. Elation.
Each morning I woke enchanted by my body/proud/beautiful.
I was the pregnant runner—full of life, not missing a beat, the picture of health.
That’s when it happened, running.
A dissonant flow; red blood.
“You should come in and get it checked out.” I knew. I knew.
I dreamed of a little brown-haired boy.
Perfect, but nothing else was right in the dream. I knew. I knew.
“The pregnancy is not in the uterus…Your baby is not viable…This will just prick you for a minute…You may have a lot of bleeding”
Isolation. Sickness. Sadness…. Tears to fill the sea. Where is my baby?
“You may need surgery/Blockage/ Dangerous/ Risky/ Wait/ Have you ever been sexually abused?” I knew…
Then there was only time—days and days of it.
Staring vacantly at our beige walls, wood floors. Waiting for the door to open…
There was nothing there—a quiet chasm, a space ravaged.
Perhaps something had died in me long ago in that basement under the weight of the man who raped me. I knew…
The blood I lost then was the same bright red—new, unused, wasted, lost….
Then in a moment of hopefulness…life, slowly growing, powerful, assertive.
It was all my body could do to form this life.
It was more than that little life, it was my own.
Everything in slow motion,
everything for him,
my second son.
Sixty-one hours of labor, then two hours pushing through that tightening, that immense cramping down deep in my abdomen. I felt it all, thank God—I needed to. I screamed, I cried, I breathed, I did it with my sister gripping my hand, her tears falling on my arm, with my husband in emotional abandon holding me, watching, speaking through his tears “you can do it.” And I did—I did it. I birthed a child—a beautiful, alive, amazing spirit of a person so familiar, so new. It left me new, too, tapped into myself in a way that had been gone for years. I stayed awake that first night even after three days of labor with no sleep.
I was electric with our new life. I felt re-membered.