Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Labor

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She pops her head
through canal and seal

of blood and sweetened sac,
arriving on the maternal hinge,

pushed, thrust through, catapulted into hospital
air, a prunelike patchwork of clay

and bruised pelvis, stroked
with estrogen’s flair and exhalation,

a talc head, in full twist
like a ventriloquist’s dummy,

aloft in more of a whimper than a scream,
alone in this heat-drop, the body

frantic for equilibrium, the glare
and white drug of artificial light,

and the nurse blinded by weight
and length, footprints and red

hair, eye drops and shots,
streaks of blue and veins thin as pins,

pure as the flesh of gums,
the head tries to lift, nudge us

into the wonder of its soft spot, to something
more than the boxer’s eyes and bubble gum

cheeks to the awe of breathing to the fire
of sucking to the hard-won grace

of knowing this pungent yet beautiful air
of struggle, eating, and sleep.


A Pushcart Prize nominee, Mark D. Bennion is the author of two poetry collections: Psalm & Selah: a poetic journey through the Book of Mormon and Forsythia. He and his wife, Kristine, are raising their children in the Upper Snake River Valley.


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Breathtaking, Mark. The most moving birth poem I've ever read. 'Stroked with estrogen's flair and exhalation.' Stunning! Thank you so much.
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