Megan Peak

So Long As You Wish It, 2010. Mixed Media: Photomontage, Digital Painting, Acrylics & Watercolor. Liz Huston.

Compilation of Splendors Upon Leaving the Fertility Clinic

 

It all compounded into a single, flickering

beat: August rain spilling through the gutter,

 

flurry of deep pink blooms loosened

from crape myrtles. Fat tubas marching

 

like roosters through a school parking lot.

Small splendors. A child in a toucan dress,

 

lips red from a cherry ice pop. Eggs frying

on a steel griddle. When was the wind

 

ever this long, this gentle? Or the river

with its wading birds, it’s secret pebbles.

 

There’s the old woman contemplating

avocados, palming the fruit like precious

 

jade. And the doctor snapping on gloves,

hopeful, gripping his wand as the screen

 

flutters on. Then the search: like a mother

trying to find the right spot to start peeling

 

an orange. Then astonishment, silver dreams,

the slight quiver of life beneath a quiet street.

 

All the snow having melted from my dark self,

the space I carved out for newness after woe.

 

The way the world drops sweet blossoms

like letters at our feet, singing: Look,

 

look how we try again each year,

how we return after a season of cold.

New Mother Abecedarian

 

At night I drift down corridors like a moon-high moth,

Bang my head against the glass where you sleep—a fever

Crib. You’re light as a rabbit, chest a charm of hummingbirds

Darting in time with machines. Lights above you burn blue

Electric while women prick your feet, thread lines thinner than

Fishing wire up your arm, fill you with bags of sugar and blood.

Golden milk. They tend to you in ways I cannot. I’m not sure

How to mother, given only my body, a grief this fraught, grief so

Interior they had to cut it out, lay it flat on the table,

Jostle it back to life. Every time I hear you whimper,

Kitten-soft, milk floods as if I’m meant to feed a whole

Litter, as if the body knows when to empty, when to brim over.

More and more, I circle your crib like a wolf, teeth bared,

Neck fur raised. No one dreams of this. They dream

Of trumpets, bellies big and sweating. They dream of labor,

Push and pull of breath, that first sharp scream, anything but

Quiet and cold. These days we hold on to anything gentle:

Red birds on the windowsill outside your room, warm

Sponge baths, skin-to-skin for an hour or two. I never thought

To be a mother would mean nursing a beauty as

Unbearable as you. I sit and rock as women return with

Vitals and stats, their usual spiel—they’re

Watching this and monitoring that, but a hundred thousand

X-rays can’t show me more than what I already know:

You, your fierce heart, swift as a new spring doe. Your breath,

Zephyr sweet on my neck as we wait for the birds, red and bold.