From here we can watch her, you and I,
we can follow her slow, her heavy ninth-month pace
as she sways and rocks
along those plum-tree flowers,
trailing through petal and stem her tremulous hands,
enticing the wind-laden blooms
to kiss her palms, to bless her final days—
for soon her time,
her hour will strike, will burst
its rind, blossoming crimson out of her womb
and cruelly into the weathers of earth
thrust howling out—so stunned, so suddenly real—
that sudden child—
that stunned fall to a world—
and her blood will wail: This pain! Is it life, this pain?
She will sing: Yes, Life! He cries to the air,
to the light, to the sun plunging down his eyes
that have never seen—
oh gripped, struggling heart—
oh sudden spring that batters earth to flesh!
But today she calms her final hours
in the nesting park, eyes lowered as we pass her by.
And soon, like her,
I too, oh Midwife Death,
will come to my due season. My pace has slowed,
tremulous now on the dust-blown path,
and I feel my flesh a heavy, fraught womb
as you and I—
shuffling past these trees—
know well the wind-struck blossom falls to its hour.
Oh Midwife Death, help me to thrust
my wailing soul of a self up to the sun,
my gripped spirit—
stunned and suddenly real—
into some deep-chanted brilliant life.
And my eyes: when you rip me out of this caul,
will my eyes see that have never seen before?
Yes, help me to sing,
through some vast passage of light:
You have cracked, oh flesh, to my spring! Oh blood, to my bloom!