My water broke in the supermarket. I forgot
what I was there to buy. When
it happened I thought first of the day
your older brother was born.
A too-slow early morning drive to the hospital
only to wait, waiting
stretching into noon, the morphine shot,
the junkie nod for hours, opening
my eyes, seeing a round clock
on the white wall had advanced another hour.
More nodding off, dry mouth
then the Pitocin drip that
nudged me along, more
task minding than hard labor till the long day
collapsed into evening,
then dusk and night.
This time was different. Embarrassed,
standing at the end of the bread aisle
I wondered how fast I could get home, clean up.
After a crescendo of contractions
your father and I made the late night drive.
I was calm. I took a shower, the pains
came faster and stronger. I braced myself
against the shower walls, warm water
pelting my back as I bent over, waiting
for a respite. It went faster,
more intense, nurses appeared,
Your father and I breathed in tandem.
So you emerged at last, head and shoulders
Pulled out rather than coaxed
by a stern nurse, then
the rest of you was
caught by the doctor who
appeared at the foot of the bed.
He laid you, slippery and warm, on my chest.
Your father nearly fainted with fatigue
and hunger. I sent him home to rest.
I watched the sun come up
over bare trees on
the golf course. I could see
a stripe of pink sky against the gray,
a sun forcing its way up.
Someone brought you to me again, this time
cleaned up, swaddled in white flannel,
sleeping, warm. I named you then,
name of unknown Etruscan origin,
name of builders of tall houses
set on high precipices, shielded by walls.