Once a month
I’m reminded of what hasn’t happened
to me, even as my body says, Open up
to the opening up, as what did not become life
is released. The pain is a preview of labor,
the assurance that life is suffering.
It is finite,
as life is finite,
my body teaching me
all that I must bear.
What if his heart is too big for the chest,
an oversized fist knocking out the wind?
What if it’s not as simple
as when, hours after he was born,
his lung collapsed and they saved him
in just minutes?
What if they tell us his body
will never become a man’s,
that the bones, interlocking, will cease
to fit, the marriage of chromosomes
too tight or too thin,
and we’ll outlive our son?
Paulette Guerin is the author of Wading Through Lethe. Her work also appears in the anthology Wild Muse: Ozarks Nature Poetry. Her website is pauletteguerin.com