The Guide

Every newborn follows its own map into the world:
I know them all.
So many ruts have been worn into my palms
there’s hardly any space left.

When the moment arrives I can see everything.
The womb is a Möbius river for its blind fish
swimming toward the net of my hands,
a sun always at zenith for its melon
ready to part from the vine.

Neither fish nor melon
the slick chrysalis peels open
& a newborn tugs at its tether like a kite,
I cut it loose & it lurches,
wheeling toward the breast.

I’ve yet to lose one: the Lord’s been with me—
whether or not the husband helps—
there’s always a voice saying Now.
A voice saying Breathe.


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