It is December –
your world begins,
not with a bang
but a whisper
of measured beeps and tics –
the machinery of your breath.
Three five seven
lines of life
enter and leave
your tender tough body
huddled in the corner of the bed
warmed by bili lights

The hushed pump of your heart
shows up on screen.
It is erratic,
and tells more than I want to know.

I touch but I can’t hold
you cry but I can’t hear
your ragged gasps
through the tubes
constricting your throat.

I rock alone in the wooden chair,
embracing a book instead of you –
tackling T.S. Eliot aloud
for my audience of one:
my son.
You know I am near –
when you hear my voice
within the quiet din,
your heart rate
evens out with mine.

We talk of Michaelangelo,
of hollow men,
and listen for the nightingales
hidden from view
as the nurses scuttle by.
We’re wandering through the wasteland
in this cruel,
dry month
of your birth.

(c) Trina Martin All Rights Reserved

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