At six weeks you held on
even as your companions
let go the little notches they’d made –
like rock climbers on a slippery cliff
they stuck their crampons into ice,
breathing the liquid air, despairing
even as the face of the wall
gave way, and they fell
down the path they’d come,
an avalanche of blood behind them.
You tightened your grip,
your cells, even then, knowing
what it took,
the blood you wouldn’t need
sliding past. The cramps
lasted an hour or so,
and then we could hear your heart again
inside the emptier space.
Now the stars belonged only to you,
the woman in whose womb you slept
They had climbed nearly to the summit,
your fraternal twins,
they had traveled without words,
crippled in ways we’ll never know.
While we waited safely at sea level,
you buried yourself stubbornly
against the precipice,
your yolk sac intact, everything
for the journey secured.
This poem was originally published in her new book “A Slight Thing, Happiness.”
It is now available for preorder.