Julianna Baggott


A month ago I was yawed open

the stitches prinning inside of me still

little memories of the knife.

I was pinned to the fetid bed

by the baby's vertebra -- pearly thing

sharp as a shark's jawbone.

And then there was the bloody vomit,

and the baby, too, was knifed open,

his eyelids taped shut during surgery

leaving two raw rectangles on his temples.

His foot was taped to a splint so the IV

could stay put -- his foot pinking brightly

under the tape, bulging sweetly

around the shunt while the morphine

ticked into his blood. The barium, so elegant,

slipped to him from a bottle -- we watched it

on the overhead monitor

                                 ink down his throat.

I milked worry from my breast -- soft breaths

of the breast pump.

I worried him here. We wondered what might

become of him -- how a child can be born

blue, the neurons disabled, the skull


See, here, his brain pulsing

                               in the soft cage.

What would be so bad about a joyous boy

disconnected, disabled in some way, untethered

from the vexation, from worry? What would be

so bad about tender fuses?

Today, the tape around his wound is peeling up

at its edges, brittle as a moth's wing. I can see

the dainty scar, run my finger along the exposed edge

of its thin groove.

                          And I recall only the lead aprons

weighing us down,

                 as if our sorrow weren't heavy enough.

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