Happy Poetry Thursday!
Once again, I didn't do the prompt but I attempted something new. Thought I would write a poem using the letters of the alphabet to start each line. Boy, that was harder than I thought. Some lines seemed forced while others surprised me. I really enjoy trying something every one in a while pushes me into a new space. Added bonus: This turned out to be a prose poem.
Needless to say, the poem is still very raw and needs further revision.
Looking forward to reading so many great poems today.
(Note: NICU is an abbreviation for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. And, I can't seem to make the lines work in Blogger, hence the smaller font. But trust me, there are 26 lines in the poem.)
After the families have visited for the evening, tethered their well wishes like
Balloons to the backs of chairs, taken photos of the first hours of life, my mother
Checks in on the preemies, often healthy but occasionally too yellow, or pink, or blue.
Deflated and in need of oxygen, they are held together by some order,
Exhausted by the urgency of being saved. For every tiny
Fledgling that leaves the unit, there is always another in need of touch.
Gloved, my mother cared through a thin layer of separation while
Holding the head of a baby born smaller than a shadow.
I think she liked the all-nighters, especially in early
January, babies born just after the New Year. She liked doing the
Kind things that love cannot do: adjusting another woman’s breast,
Lifting the pillow under her head so the baby slips just above the
Mother’s ribs, offering advice or comfort before returning to the
NICU, the tectonic plates of mother and child drifting together then apart.
Often she delighted in the midnight coos, a love song for the
Phantom ache of babies she could never carry, those tiny loaves
Quick, unleavened, so eager to take touch like communion, while she loved what
Remained, leaving her impoverished soul open and gaping.
She shuffled through our house as if they were long, antiseptic corridors,
There but not there. Such is the life of one in service to others,
Under no illusions about the gift of grace. My mother, whose
Voice is the sound of love becoming, seldom wondered
What became of those raindrops, whose first days of life were
X-rayed, poked, prodded—their sentences commuted to time served.
Yet, they will not remember this time when they were barely more than
Zygotes, as it should be. As if they were never there.