As someone who hopes to become a mother in the coming years, this was a difficult poem to write, but one which I had to put out there.
I Hope Death Has Soft Hips
He dies 29 minutes
after he released himself
from your womb.
His skull is frail
as a palm of dried flowers.
You lightly kiss a pinhead small
birthmark on the back of his left hand,
then you kiss the back of the right hand
so they’re equal.
You say his skin tastes
like salted caramel.
Tears quiver like blown glass.
You tell me you don’t want
to go back to the cottage.
The spiders are waiting, webs
ready for new, inquisitive eyes.
We talk about his coffin, while you
hold him against your breast,
hands over his ears.
I tell you I will carve it myself
from Nordic pine.
You carried our son with true confidence.
I was amazed at how you sparkled
through the morning sickness.
How you made two loaves of bread
every Sunday, and coaxed the vegetables
in the garden to grow full and strong.
Your calmness was almost freakish.
Your bravery now is a gift.
He’s starting to get cold, so we dress
him in the babygrow you made from
our old band shirts.
I need to have trust in what comes after.
Trust that death is kind and has soft
hips to carry him on.
We stay with him until the smell in the room
becomes bittersweet and his froth
of brown hair has dried.