Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Later I learned how a friend from high school
had had her babies: alone in a field

with a flashlight and a midwife.
So many questions.

Was it cold? Was there a blanket,
plaid check against the stubble,

or flower grass, or frost bled through
with stubborn mud? Were there stars?

How lonely was it under stars?
It reminded me of a night years ago

before I was yours or you were mine:
I accepted a ride, a silver-headed helmet,

a place on the back of a bike—only the air
to hold onto. Or a near-stranger’s waist.

We drove into dark, through the middle
dark, behind thick pines, on a fire road.

I could have said no.
It was so dark I felt beautiful,

so dark my puddled dress glowed.
I didn’t feel the danger until we drove

back to the party, and the fire
was out, the ashes wet, everyone

I knew gone. It was like a riot
had broken up—only red cups

in the weeds. Take me home,
I might have said, but I was far

from home. I woke up in a storm
from a dream about him,

and my tooth was broken, gnashed
near in half. Miles away at dinner

with his family, he mashed food
and split a molar.

We both tasted blood in our mouths,
our mouths that had been

at each other’s throats.
And still I didn’t feel danger.

I didn’t feel mortal. I didn’t know

          until they passed the child

under my legs and into my arms,
slippery, warm, the faces

of the midwives shined, expectant,
your weary, wondering

sigh. No doctors. No instruments.
No hospital. Only us. Only

everything. And the wild world

waiting, opening—    

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