BILLIE

Billie

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BIRTH AGAIN

Green-haloed doctor
Solomon in a gown too large
stays with us all two hours,
so kind
I have endowed him divine competence.
I bent procedure at Navy Hospital
when I insisted only he
could touch me. 7 centimeters dilated,
“You’re too comfortable,
but it’s almost time.”

The magic on this floor! where we watch Amy entering
the open world,
the magic on this floor
is bigger than Christmas!

“Another female,” nurse
hands me the roundest head, red
fat folds on her cheekbones.
“Amy,” I say.
She stops crying as her eyes
lock into mine.

***

Five floors above the ground
I’m at the window eating lunch,
John down there leads
a line of children
through the parking lot,
all holding hands.
I don’t want to leave.
For while I stay
birth fills the air I share with mothers,
bearded corpsmen who bathe our babies,
Doctor Solomon shyly hinting
about birth control.
I don’t want to blanket birth
and walk out in the February sun.

The magic on these streets
is bigger than Valentines!
as we bring Amy home through Pensacola,
magic makes the
whole town shine!

Remember the reason, mother again.
Remember the baby sleeping
on my arm, her hand
on my open breast.

SOLITUDE SURROUNDED

A cough in the night
jolts me wake.
Ann, inarticulate,
rocks on her bed,
near choking.
I suppose she cries
because the heavy mucus
hurts her throat.

Too soon, coffee cup in hand,
I make the rounds
of darkened rooms
to open curtains,
let some February morning in.

I remember chapel during June retreat.
It was so quiet you could hear the prayer.
Peace poured through stained windows with
sun and everyone smelled on incense.
The bell above the chapel clock–

A son’s voice pierces,
I can feel its rough waves touch my skin.
“Good morning,”
touch TV
so words will cover words.

I remember chapel during June retreat.
It was so quiet you could hear the prayer.
Even God obeyed that bell,
arriving for Office promptly
with the swish of sixty
genuflecting rosaries.

In my February todays
God will have to learn to come
uncalled.