4/23/16 To bear

The dates are so close together,
the windows so narrow,
almost nonexistent,

but not.

We honor their lives anyhow,
these souls who come for so brief
a moment, the ones with us
a day, an hour, a month,
or three.

Oh how much love is written
along these stones,
how much grief.

To bear.

To bear a being into this world,
and so soon, to bear its passing.
How did this one come and go, or this one –
Andrew, or Lilah, or Ala?

The bare slithering body,
slipping from a wet womb.
A mother exhausted, or in pain,
ready to receive life, and alas,

Or the ones that lived from
March till July, just long enough
to be seen, touched, nursed,
coddled, celebrated.

Or the ones that did not even
have a name yet, but are still cared for,
noted, remembered, gazed at
ever so honestly – baby girl, baby boy.

And I feel my own beating heart, my own
feet meeting this earth, the weight and levity
of these bones and chest
as I stand and breathe you in.

I, a lucky one. I, so near being like you,
or perhaps even moreso, the opposite –
stranded, motherless.
But not quite.

My birth spared us both, and now –
mother, daughter –
we feel the pain once more,
we birth anew.

Life’s unending maw, changing us together.
We, the lucky ones, we
the ones who made it through.

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