His little body was slippery on mine
Tumbled gently from my chest to my belly
As I slept
And I so desperately wanted the warmth of my body
To heat his
Which of course couldn’t happen because
I understand science.
And I have a deadline
And a phone call
And a bill to pay
And a bank account.
But his little body glowed almost red
His skin was beginning to bruise
And I was afraid to touch him when I woke up
And realized that he had slid
Gently down my body
A home he only knew from inside
And I still remember the weirdness of feeling
His hand on his cheek
As his body left my body.
And now I make small talk
Yes, work is good
I’m thinking of a new advertising push
For my small business
And the food is good
The food is very good.
I did touch him when I woke up
Hesitating, afraid to break him further,
then joyfully, captivated
Lifted him to my chest
And then to my face
His tiny hand rested on his cheek
And I made sure that his hand rested there
When I settled him into his box.
His box was metal
From the hardware store
It had a lock
But I couldn’t bring myself to lock it
I could hardly bring myself to look at it
To line it with the things of our life
A dog toy and a red scarf and a shell
A shell like my body
A small creature’s former home
And did I remember to ask about the recipe
I think people ask for the recipe in this situation
Its lightly spiced
Not too spicy, I agree
It would make a good breakfast.
In my real life
My real life where I am still holding him
Against my chest.
I love spicy foods
And when I was pregnant I ate everything spicy
Because I wasn’t sure if he could taste yet
But if he could
If tiny tastebuds were growing in his sweet little mouth,
I wanted him to know the richness of taste
The flavors of my life
The life that would be his.
Though his body was slippery against mine
Tumbled gently from my chest
To my belly
To a metal box
to a hole I couldn’t bear to dig
Where his hand rested on his cheek
And I remember
Every moment of that day I spent
With his body against mine
Held and carried
My friends and I.
He was so beautiful
And I am on autopilot
The things we say
Work and recipes and deadlines
When his little body
Sits in a metal box
His little hand on his cheek
The ground closing over.
And so I ask my hosts
Will you put in a garden this year?
What will you grow?
Not too much spice
He fell from my body
His hand resting on his cheek
His skin was beginning to bruise.
And the food is very good
I think I should ask for the recipe
Because the ground he is under
Has already closed over
Vines and herbs
Deadlines and bills to pay
And my whole body is just a small creature’s former home.
I felt his hand on his cheek
As his body fell from my body
And so I buried him
With his hand on his cheek
And I talk about recipes and deadlines
Gardens and flavors and bills to pay
Though his hand rested on his cheek is
All I can see
My only horizon.
Guest writer Nechama is a writer and educator. Let us know how you’re doing, will you?