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.