Notes From The Delivery Room

Strapped down,
Victim in an old comic book,
I have been here before,
This place where pain winces
Off the walls
Like too bright light.
Bear down a doctor says,
Foreman to sweating labourer,
But this work, this forcing
Of one life from another
Is something that I signed for
At a moment when I would have signed anything.
Babies should grow in fields;
Common as beets or turnips
They should be picked and held
Root end up, soil spilling
From between their toes –
And how much easier it would be later,
Returning them to earth.
Bear up… bear down… the audience grows restive, and I’m a new magician
Who can’t produce the rabbit
From my swollen hat.
She’s crowning, someone says,
But there is no one royal here,
Just me, quite barefoot,
Greeting my barefoot child.

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Linda Pastan

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