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|  EARLY LIFE

 
  In a muscle-less state
you were the fastest fish,
cleverest, swimming there first,
outdoing the others,
finding your way
into the egg.

Then the beautiful way that Mary carried you,
carrying you since she was a little girl,
waiting for you, the round globe
of the world inside her, the blueprint
of life illuminated like stars
on the dark walls. You didn't kick.
Which scared her. Hands rubbed
over the surface
like a fortune-teller on a crystal ball.

Eighteen hours of labour.
Breathing techniques
flew out the window, speared
in the January sun,
became crystals of snow
on rooftops. Pain grew like a tree.

The window between two universes
stayed closed. And, after eighteen hours,
dilation unchanged, they called the doctor.
In another time you would have joined
the long, sad history of others,
of death at birth. Stuck,
couldn't push, already
without strength,
the cord coiled around you.
Life, and one
of its many nooses.


from The Wind is a Tall Man Striding
watershedBooks
2000
Copyright © Jim Slominski