Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sestina of Seven Births (Poem)

Sestina of Seven Births

1. 27 November 2006, Morning
They’d said it would come,
with December just around the bend.
Still it caught me off guard. Outside
in pajama pants, t-shirt, bare feet, waiting
for the dog to make: the first flakes layered
cornered leaves with winter’s afterbirth.

2. 16 July 2003: Our First
The day Sidney was born,
her water came
on the bathroom floor. As I’d layered
a towel to soak the spill, my wife bent
over the head to catch any leaks, waiting
for labor to turn her insides out.

3. New Mother
Sitting beside
the ashen body of her stillborn
son, waiting
for the cry that never came,
she bends
her breath across his chest, warming the empty layers.

4. 12 February 2006, 2:23 AM: Our Second
Rising through layers
of sleep into wet sheets, she’d stood beside
our bed, questioned her continence while bending
lamp light across the spill. “Looks like your birthday
present’s coming,”
I’d said as she winced at the onset of labor’s weight.

5. Sarah
As she wearies beneath the weight
time layers
on her womb, he comes
to her. Inside
the tent, a moonbeam gives birth
to galaxies as her universe bends

to God’s touch.

6. On the Lake
Ripples bend
the water’s crimson weight,
distorting autumn’s birth
with each stroke layered
on stroke. Reaching over the canoe’s east side,
our nine month daughter watches her reflection go and come.

7. Solstice
Rereading “The Second Coming” on a winter night, birds bending
circles inside Yeats’ words as the tide spanning generations waits
to drown my own, I draw the poet’s layered veil and fall into Christ’s crimson birth.