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Leaving Labor and Delivery.


   The light is relentless. There are no lampshades here.
   No dimmer switch. Night lives only in the sockets
   of windows. Nurses pop in and out like cuckoo
   clocks. They unwrap us and refold us. You
   in your swaddling and me in my bandages. Yes,

   I am your mummy and this is morning, this
   is afternoon, this is the long white night
   when we are basted belly-up by the constant
   whirring light. We are not ready for the dark
   you and I, we are not ready for the cold.

   We are hothouse bulbs in our bright
   incubator. In sleep you expand, my little
   loaf, and I keep bleeding between
   the feedings when the nurses flock like starched
   white cabbage moths. They prop my bubble

   wrapped torso up with pillows, peel back
   sleep's damp towel and roll you out. My milk
   is full of bees and danger, heady allergens
   smuggled within tulips beside our bed. You twitch,
   little addict, rooting toward this contraband.

   We are not ready for undigested air, for the vital
   flare of gasoline or jasmine, for sky
   greased by all-night diners and plumes
   of cigarette butts stirred from roadside
   gutters. I watch a patch of sky go blue

   then black, I watch the tarred roof bruise
   beneath the weight of pigeons. I am on a restricted
   diet. You strain the straightjacket of your swaddle.

   The nurse is merciless. She places you on my lap,
   pushes my wheelchair towards the door. Wards fl y by

   like pages in waiting room magazines.
   She parks us on the curb while your father
   gets the car. Sun slaps shut my eyes
   and for a moment there is only the imprint
   your new body makes. It re-creates the world.

Winner of the 2013 AWP Intro Journals Project in Poetry, selected by Ben Grossberg

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Article Details
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Author:Rodoni, Erin
Publication:Colorado Review: A Journal of Contemporary Literature
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 22, 2013
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