Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Early Flight

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For Ian, born May 2, 2008, 4:29 a.m.

You shot out of me
like a
champagne cork—like Superman, your

grandmother said. Legs
straddled
open, a loved one holding each

up-raised foot, I saw
that same
shock flash between their faces when

you flew into the
doctor's
arms. Sticky hair skull cap but no

tears. Your father snipped
the cord
without flinching. Different figures

crowded in, yellow-
gloved and
gowned, hurried you to an exam

table, left us to
marvel
what an entrance you made, and what

a sound! juicy pop,
cannon
full of watermelon. Only

after I noticed
no tears,
did the nurse come smiling, They found

a problem, and our
thoughts turned
to the NICU at CHOP, plastic

boxes with holes for
parents'
timid hands, procedures we had

no names for, and your
father
hid his eyes, groaned, My baby is

broken, only then
did I
get a chance to hold you, compact

bundle, stunned. In the
early
morning dark, my epidural
calm, we stared at each
other,
weary strangers boarding a plane.


Melissa Frederick is a writer and freelance medical editor from suburban Philadelphia. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous publications, including The L.A. Times, Crab Orchard Review, Oxford Poetry, and Heron Tree.


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