it's something of a rococo. a hot pink, over the top sort of thing. i swim the gathering of all the feelings. you are my near death.
you. are. mine.
it took until the dark early morning quiet, baby breathing, four months to the day, both unslept to say something.
at sixty days we were flooded in early afternoon light. we stood in the center of my dear friend's brand new store. something about the glass, brick and sunlight made the sound of my voice crest like a wave. wearing baby, squirming. just under 2 months old, in a front carrier.
the words, like an olympian, charged out of my body, "i thought i knew what love was," they seemed cheap, already used, sloppy. they rattled onto the floor. i needed a shapeshifter. a game changer. i needed something to gallop on the beach with. other than a word. perhaps a pantomime.
i needed to be greek. they have more words. better words. they have four kinds of love.
i followed up with,"i almost died." my body leased an echo. the room filled with everything and then went back to being a room. i began to sweat, still unsure of my own breast feeding. it had all become the most wonderful and most awful at once. what was that word? it had been a death to reason. until then, i searched other's stories for familiarity. lost in the sleepless string of days spent giving what was left of my body.
a robot. a flower in full bloom, browning.
before her, the last time i had been outside as my former self it was oakland and it was an overcast day surrounded by unseasonably warm days--even for our Indian Summer. i kept singing the same lines to a song from my childhood:
"we were married on a rainy day, the sky was yellow and the grass way gray." and changed them to," you were born..."
i kept. waiting. holding. aching.
and everything they say about paradise is true.
we slipped away in tandem and were brought back apart. the minutes became hours, and the hours became days. and when the gurney became a sea cave, the other side of a curtain announced the inside of my body.
it was a girl. my girl. we all cried.
i met her in a dream 21 days earlier. the dark of the morning note i wrote myself read:
"dreamt that i woke up with cholostrum on my shirt. i had had the baby. i was home in bed. Fonz and mom were there. i asked what happened, they told me that the labor took an hour. i slept through it. my whole body hurt, i was so tired. asked mom if the baby was a boy or a girl, she paused. it was a girl she said and took me to her in another room. i picked her up an she smiled and we fell in love. we named her rafi (rafaela) right then. chubby cheeks. she looked like fonzy."
I don't know how this middle of the night got me to write again or in the throes of its hot-quiet-baby-breathing-still-nothing-else-in-the-world-lightless-fog, how there is any room to feel anything else, let alone feel so much more. It has a sensible desperation to it, a forgiveness I had yet to feel when it comes to writing. It rained today, a brief delight against this dry and warm winter, and every song makes me want to cry. They say it's the hormones and while I know now to step aside when they come racing, mouth open, poised to swallow, I can't give them all the credit. I had a baby. A baby girl for that matter. She is everything they tell you about having a baby and more. The way the heart opens a new valve. How my body's room for her while growing was a small and slight shadow against the space I now need to hold the tremendous love I feel for her. So much love that I don't recognize myself sometimes. She lies in front of me discovering the world in small pieces, so small that I can't even see them. I read something and then i read something else that helped me to recognize those separate yet symbiotic feelings I have for her and the feelings I have for my body. How they can coexist. Still unharmonious, but less shrill. They put in the place of my scattered, erratic, overwrought, conflicting, and often fragmented feelings, actual words. I held them with both hands and rolled them around in my fingers until they became so familiar that I thought they were my own. They are not my own. I'm finding my own. Like anyone that has given birth, when put together, the story, makes for a long, hard, sometimes sad and then so beautiful mosaic. I haven't been able to find all those words yet. Something about sleep deprivation has left me with just a handful of language that I spin around and over and back again. I expect that one day my brain might grow back and then I might sit down and find that my very own birthscape floats within reach, not just dust suspended, drifting above us, unnoticed in my baby's sunlit room. and then maybe I'll find a way to set it free back into my body, and then up into the sky.
and to my southern scar, i will no longer avert my eyes.
i am a writer because i have stories to tell.