Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
I absolutely loved this poem. Her description of her baby’s breath as its “moth-breath” was spot on – it just immediately clicked in my mind, as did the line “A far sea moves in my ear“. There have been countless nights when I think I’ve heard small, suspicious noise and I lie in my bed, straining my ears, and the annoying air seems to swirl loudly in my ear and I can’t seem to hear anything beyond that. And that’s exactly how it seems, as if it’s the sound of the sea, which you hear in shells, that’s moving mutedly in my head.