St. Croix


She remembers it was a Tuesday,
her labor.
Intially, she’d been pleased by that.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be on,
a possible distraction from contractions.
she was relieved it was just a rerun,
the rythmic clenching of every muscle
below her breasts
obstructing her ability
to focus on anything,
not even the breathing
they said would help.
The playlist she’d prepared for herself
stayed in its plastic sleeve.
Lollipops unwrapped,
ignored in her bag;
lip balm capped.
She didn’t want to be talked to
or touched,
no backrubs
or foot massages.

Between waves of pain
and the accompanying urge to vomit,
all she wanted was quiet,
to white out her brain,
remind herself
this, too, would pass.
Even the epidural,
which hid the pain,
did not stop the movement
of each drop of moisture
being squeezed upward from her stomach,
mouth to basin,
with every masked cramping.

Twelve hours in
and fully dialated,
she began to push:
an effort to dislodge the love
held captive within her.

through every “I hate you,”
every strike and landing,
she still feels this.
Love dislodged,
love embodied,
pain that closes her.

October 2014
Julie Ayers


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