Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Birth Rites

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Every week at birth class it's the same
story the same flooding as we watch
a grainy movie of our long-awaited journey—

darkened sanctum heave and sweat
naked woman half-reclining
midwives kneeling rubbing soothing

sudden blur of other flesh arriving
at her portal like a lantern
in the darkness fingers coaxing stretching reaching

till with wild ancestral cry head
appearing disembodied wide eyes shut
like ancient statue incantation louder faster

shift and groan the final push out
shoulders flop like fish then trunk and legs
in slippery heap offered up to waiting breast—

we all flush with cheering weeping beaming
mother at the finish glistening newborn
and the thickly twisted purple cord

a relic from another world.


Susan Auerbach‘s poems have appeared as part of her memoir, I’ll Write Your Name on Every Beach: A Mother’s Quest for Comfort, Courage & Clarity After Suicide Loss (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017), as well as in the Altadena Poetry Review and Third Wednesday (forthcoming). She lives in Altadena, California, with her husband, two dogs, and four chickens.


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