Today's poem is by Erin Rodoni
Leaving Labor and Delivery
The light is relentless. There are no lampshades here.
No dimmer switch. Night lives only in the sockets
of windows. Nurses pop in and out like cuckoo
clocks. They unwrap us and refold us. You
in your swaddling and me in my bandages. Yes,
I am your mummy and this is morning, this
is afternoon, this is the long white night
when we are basted belly-up by the constant
whirring light. We are not ready for the dark
you and I, we are not ready for the cold.
We are hothouse bulbs in our bright
incubator. In sleep you expand, my little
loaf, and I keep bleeding between
the feedings when the nurses flock like starched
white cabbage moths. They prop my bubble-
wrapped torso up with pillows, peel back
sleep's damp towel and roll you out. My milk
is full of bees and danger, heady allergens
smuggled within tulips beside our bed. You twitch,
little addict, rooting toward this contraband.
We are not ready for undigested air, for the vital
flare of gasoline or jasmine, for sky
greased by all-night diners and plumes
of cigarette butts stirred from roadside
gutters. I watch a patch of sky go blue
then black, I watch the tarred roof bruise
beneath the weight of pigeons. I am on a restricted
diet. You strain the straightjacket of your swaddle.
The nurse is merciless. She places you on my lap,
pushes my wheelchair towards the door. Wards fly by
like pages in waiting room magazines.
She parks us on the curb while your father
gets the car. Sun slaps shut my eyes
and for a moment there is only the imprint
your new body makes. It re-creates the world.
Copyright © 2014 Erin Rodoni All rights reserved
from Colorado Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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