Ruptured

Her water didn’t break,
It exploded
A river overflowing barriers
Uncontained by sandbags
Or military intervention
She awoke

She,
Swollen,
Oozed and dripped
As tsunami subsided
Into stream
Creek
Puddle

w
a
t
e
r

Life

Earth surged, quaked
Rended
Relinquished
Control
Rendered life
Pushing
Fuzzy head
Through cervix

Primal screaming
Mother and baby
Separate
Unite
Quiet
Eyes
Wet bodies
Rest in wonder

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

Stillborn

thoughts spiral
the crown, whirring and popping
images burned onto retina
upside and
down
deep where the scan glows red
blinking out a memory

why can’t this collection of neurons
forget her face
whose lips were accidentally,
reflexively,
sloughed off,
with that no-longer-quite-sterile gauze?

she was meant to breathe

her.
not breathing.

eclipsed sound
burst eardrums
made deaf and mute,
senseless
good as a knock-out punch
but worse
knowing it was coming,

not fair
to promise life
and give,
instead,
the end of everything

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

wise woman

now i am a wise woman
having learned that
i know nothing
except how to take their hands
and lead them through the maze of pressure
and blood
up winding mountain paths
urging them forward though they want to rest
finding a safe place to shelter them;
“rest now,” i whisper,” just a little,”
offering sips of water
though they are not boxers
and this is not a ring
i am wise to the ways
of love and birth;
know that it is a worthy journey,
and they are ready
having discarded boots and gloves,
bravely digging toes into the damp earth
their fingers find purchase
in rocky places
and i am there to rub their hands,
tell them “yes, it hurts, like love,
like life, and you are strong,
your tribe is all humanity;”
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 parents,
their brows furrowed and sweat-soaked,
but hopeful, so hopeful,
for the waiting joy;
i know 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,
i am soft with it,
easing precious new being from warm
uterine cave,
to place on exhausted parent’s chest,
and smile,
and whisper
“welcome, we have been waiting for you.”

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

 

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