wise woman

now i am a wise woman
having learned that
i know nothing
except how to take her hand
and lead her through the maze of pressure
and blood
up the winding mountain path
urging her forward though she wants to rest
finding a safe place to shelter her
“rest now,” i whisper,”just a little,”
offering sips of water
though she is not a boxer
and this is not a ring
i am wise to the ways
of love and birth;
know that it is a worthy journey,
and she is ready
having discarded boots and gloves,
bravely digging toes into the damp earth
her fingers find purchase
in rocky places
and i am there to rub her hands,
tell her “yes, it hurts, like love,
like life, and you are strong,
your tribe is all women;”
i am blessed to make this journey
many times over
to know the terrain,
to jog along easy summer trails with
the hurried ones, birthing like breathing,
to grapple and belay up arduous cliffs
met unexpectedly, but fearlessly
by other mothers,
their brows furrowed and sweat-soaked,
but hopeful, so hopeful,
for the waiting joy;
i know all
about life,
how it hangs precious
in the gaps…
i wait for it,
coax it,
sometimes bargain with it,
i am firm with life,
commanding it,
“breathe, little one,
even if my fingers are beating your heart,
and i must force air into miniscule lungs,”
i am soft with it,
easing precious new being from warm
uterine cave,
to place on exhausted mother’s chest,
and smile,
and say,
“welcome, we have been waiting for you,”
as she crests the summit and smiles,
tears streaming down her face.

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

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