I’ve known you for so long
I’ve never met you.
You sway and roll as I sing
But you’ll never let me sleep.
I wake, you sleep
I sleep, you wake
And now the pain begins.
Midwife Mary strokes my hair
A trance takes me far from home,
Warm water bathes my moans
And I writhe and sway a working rhythm.
My tongue is parched, I ask for juice
At home in my bed, a familiar smell,
Quilt sewn with loving hands of old
Wraps me in familiarity.
He paces, worried, wanting to take
The pain and labor upon himself.
But a mother’s work is deep within
And the rhythm floats on in colors.
Soft music plays
Or rock and roll,
Whatever helps me push the plow
Of labor pains in which I am drowning.
But Mary pulls me back again.
She brings my focus on the happiness
The pictures, the music, the pressure from my back.
And looking straight into my soul
“Now push” she says and I comply.
It’s easy, it feels better, I can.
The hours pass, but I don’t know
Through sweat and blood the world has gone.
My tank on empty, “I can’t” I cry
But Mary says I can.
A smile, encouraging
Again, she says to push.
Mother holds my hand,
He holds your head,
And frightened, pulls you into the world.
And all is gone except your face
A love ignited more than all.
My baby here within the circle of my grasp
On this your first day of life.