Getting Born

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Odd that no one knows how it feels to be born, whether it's one smooth whistling ride down green, ether-muffled air or whether the first breath burns in the lungs with the redness of flames.

My time and place are fixed: at least -- Chicago 1935 in the "midst of the depression" -- as folks said then. The hospital still stands, a pyramid of red bricks made clumsy by air shafts -- only now there's a modern wing smooth as an office tower

The doctor is dead not only dead but erased "What was his name anyway? An Irish name, wasn't it? -- began with an M."

There's something careless about this forgetting something dull and humiliatingwell, he died in the war probably a young man with smooth hands, a blank face paved over like a kind of cement

The doctor is dead

Birth is an improvised procedure Coming alive just half a ceremony composed of breath a clutch at simple air --impossible to do it well

You slipped out like a lump of butter my mother said her voice for once choked with merriment eyes rolled upward toward the ceiling, round, white, young, clear oh shame

© Shields Carol