Saturday, June 25, 2022

What Stays

Piece by piece, she assembled
Her team and her decisions.
It would all be natural—

No painkillers, a home birth
In a warm tub with a view,
A midwife, and a doula.

It would be in Canada,
Too, which was inconvenient.
Her mother was unhappy,

And her partner had to drive
And fly back-and-forth between
His weekday job in the States

And their place in Canada
Where she had holed herself up
For the final trimester.

In between these parallel
Existences, his two poles,
He sometimes overnighted

In a vacation cabin
Of metaphorical kin,
An A-frame in the mountains

Beside an old mining town.
Frosty mornings, he’d wake up
On the moldy green sofa,

Before the day’s long drive north
Or slightly shorter leg south,
Roll his sleeping bag back up,

And step out on the back porch
To check the progress of fall.
The cabin was out of range

Of cell service, had no phone,
No TV or radio.
He felt balanced between worlds,

Nations, current and future
Obligations, and the sharp
Autumn reek of reddened leaves

Coloring and falling down
The canyon, around the porch
In the quiet of light wind,

Would stay with him years after
He had caught his only child,
Cut the umbilical cord,

And changed the first of many
Diapers in the hospital
Where, after all, she was born.

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