You won't remember this.
Not the shallow breathing and gray lips.
Not the vomit. Not the milk
that overtook you like a breached levee.
Not your heart.
A hymn beating so faintly.
Not the midnight emergency visit or the staff
of fifteen swelling to save your little life.
Not the incision, your line of demarcation.
Not your muscles working against each other,
despite each other.
Forget the tubes, the I-Vs,
the doctors with their bad jokes,
the nurses with their latexed hands.
Not your father feeding you sugar water
with a cotton swab, or your mother
kissing your lips pursed tight as a clasp,
those perfect lips God gave you.
Is it true He doesn't give you more than you can bear?
Forget I asked.
Forget the small plans we have for today,
watching you vanish and reappear
in the space of my hands.
You, who have been blessed by pain,
forget your first two weeks of life.
It's Poetry Thursday--my favorite day of the week.
"The Small Plans" is a poem I wrote for my daughter Ella sometime at the end of last year. In August 2005, two weeks after she was born, Ella was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called a coartation of the aorta. She had surgery immediately after it was detected, and I'm happy to say that my good-as-new baby will celebrate her first birthday in August! (Woo Hoo!)
So, I wanted to write a piece that captured the experience as much as a poem can. Ella's ordeal was so intense that I still can't shake it from my being. But I do have enough distance from the poem that I can discuss it critically.
Ultimately, I think words fail the poem. Yet, I'm left to wonder if the words are failing or if it's me who has failed the poem, and the experience expressed in the poem. Being out of the moment made it easier to be a bit more journalistic in my approach to writing about it.
From a technical perspective, I don't know if the prayer element coupled with the rhythm works completely. But writing down the experience makes me feel as though I have controled that particular moment after the fact. I guess that's how I feel about all of my pieces. Time and distance can work miracles in the realm of the poetic.
*And where the f*^% is my audioblogger post?*
(FYI, I decided not to go into too much detail about coarctation now. But I will incorporate more detail into a post closer to Ella's first birthday.)