by Robert B. Hinton

The epidural didn’t work,
you felt the incision
Pain compounded exhaustion, mouth parted
quivering with disbelief

They continued to work,
rapidly, but not hurried
Your upper body tugged unnaturally,
womb exposed, adjusting to the light

The floors didn’t hide the blood,
the rationale for a white room fleeting
Around a glimpse of a quiet clock,
camouflaged upon a stark wall

You held your breath,
underwater without goggles
Traveling elsewhere now,
closer to your private companion

Large green linens,
durable and romantic
Ceremoniously draped your body,
covering our clasped hands

As the moment came,
our flesh growing for forty weeks
Slowness seized my throat,
the stillness almost calm

Faces crowded the ceiling,
departed family members
And angels with forgotten names,
from paintings studied long ago

They pulled him out, our boy,
from the cathedral space in your belly
No time to eulogize the placenta,
a warm blanket to be remembered

We resigned to our new self,
understanding without reason
The first of four, life’s own longing,
to reconcile our collective memory

The doctor held him up, deliberately
he seemed to regard the ceiling
As if to acknowledge the witnesses, at last
the same Irish scream of millennia