Sunday, January 13, 2008

on giving birth to Auralee

"try to ride the contraction
like a wave,"
my midwife intones, but I
have never surfed before

so when I feel it coming, I try
to swim out to it,
to roll over in my mind
and let it carry me along

when that doesn't work, I try
to let it wash over me--
that should be soothing--
but it doesn't

In theory, I know how to relax,
how to embrace the contraction,
how to interpret the pain as pressure

but when it comes, I am never,
ready for it

and instead of relaxing, all I do is try
to hold still;
some part of my body always gives me away:
a curled toe or a clenched fist

and this is not pressure
this is hell
this is worse than hell because
if it were hell, I would be dead,
and I don't think dead people feel pain

And when it's over, I lay there,
gasping for breath,
and unable to hold still
(although everyone says I am not shaking)

what do they know?
I have already learned that,
when the next one comes,
no one will be there with me.

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