:: missionary midwife ::

my mom delivered a breach baby in the village about a week ago, so i wrote a poem about it. it was partly for a class but mostly because i love my mom and wish i could've been there.

Missionary Midwife

Three a.m, a timid voice calls out
From darkness into darkness:
"Are you there?" A silly question.
"Will you rise?" A better question.
Darkness parts into a flame to guide
The midwife to the life about to
Meet the sleeping world.

The quiet slap of sandals on the dirt
Creates the comfortable noise where
Words aren’t needed for the moonlight walk.
The shadow of a hut appears
Against the blacker black of jungle trees.
Inside, the mother pushing, resting,
Sweating, quietly crying from the
Unexpected pain.

Now help - the midwife,
Smiles hello, takes her place:
The corner of the woven mat beside
The mother’s feet. Foot?

A baby foot kicks first
Into the night. "Oh, precious,
Are you gone?" She strokes five
Tiny baby toes, they curl, all purple,
But they curl!

Two feet out with one strong
Push, then baby body, scrawny arms
With balled-up fists prepared to fight for life.
She puts her finger in the infant mouth to pull,
To help the fighter struggle out. But silence now;
Now silence is not gold.

One suck to pull the mucous free
From little lungs, too full to breathe.
Then one small cry, his battle cry,
And tears flow freely, baby tears
But mostly midwife tears of joy.


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