He’s brand new,
and he smells like pinewood and detergent and skin,
I can’t wait to show him the stars,
use unleaded paint on his tiny arms,
make him giggle with joy when he gets a new toy,
wrap him in the covers so he can stay warm.
The feel of his touch will be burned in my brain,
and I’ll think of it as he bounds out to play
or heads out to school that first day;
He’s brand new,
and I’m looking forward to firsts;
finding his feet, loose teeth,
lounging in parks underneath
birch trees and daydreaming
about girls or boys or what
it means to have a
heartbeat and live and be
in this skin; to be
He’ll never have any of that.
I clutch little baby hands, his body wrapped in a hospital sheet.
It’s blue and red – much like his skin; my baby.
His face is the image of peace, but there’s something
not right in the silence of it all. They take him and hide him
away from my desperate eyes, but it’s a loud silence
that has my whole chest-bursting at the ribs.
I beg every god I know that he might breathe.
He’s still warm as long as I hold him.
He’s cold, but he’s stillborn.
He’s still warm,
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When we get home, the nursery is dark.
All I can taste during dinner is bark.
The house is empty when it should have been filled –
with neighbours and family and his healthy little cries.
We should have been cradling him and showing him
around; now we’re just surrounded by casseroles and
condolences as cards from the women down the street
who would stop me and press their hands to my belly
during morning walks.
I sit down on the carpet and watch where I would have
changed his dirty diapers, the electrical warmer for all the
wipes and where he would have slept in his tiny bed.
His crib, decorated with yellow giraffes and smiling lion
heads mocks me; his shoes – the first of many, I’d
been told – sit on the dresser we bought him two months ago;
when his heartbeat was strong; when it was a song
that I would hear in my head, repeating like
a chant sent from the heavens. He was every
one of my prayers, answered and that heartbeat
was a purchase receipt that god was out there,
somewhere; but now…
where was he?
When I had to stare at these shoes?
In what would have been my son’s
I grab the pair. I can’t bear to have them,
staring at me with their small slip-on heels.
My fingers work quicker than I can think.
Craigslist loads on my screen before I can blink.
I make the post as fast as I can, so I can stop seeing
my son’s lifeless little hands.
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
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PS: You can purchase poet Phoenix Wilde’s absolutely awe-inspiring poetry collection entitled ‘Pouring Water Over Stars’ by clicking here. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited.
Categories: Free Verse Poetry