I am trying to be done
to be silent in the roaring, sloshing awakeness of our maternity unit, to be better at gathering, scraping, scooping together the oceans of my darkened eyes to rest on a page and remember anything at all, to give you my blue egg of a ripping breast and not wince, crack frighteningly apart, to fall gushingly asleep on my protruding anaemic stomach like it’s my blurry first love, to look up at the vertiginous crying gap between slicing stars, to listen to angry talkback radio for a pinprick of adult company in bleached, unused bedrooms, to focus on briny horizon lines without tracing a pucker of Midas rips, to pull heavy wooden doors open in stuttering codes of movement, to remember the incandescent day you were born. there is a smallness I am trying to move on from, get out of. daily, I hear the faint sinking of the pilings of our house. it’s like a soft, wintering, watery moment, wood looping slowly like brittle bones ground down into sopping umber moss. do you know that sound? and do you hear it? we buried our dog the week before you were finally here. a heart attack one evening while we slept. and all I can think of is whether the tree we buried him under was the right one. were the roots soft enough to cradle him down there? we planted riparian areas in the sloping garden so that the plants acted like a sieve. but what if he entered a waterway, I worried. would the sadness of his body be birthed, be carried along on brakish water, morph into a trace fossil? would he know that place he can always come back to? so we started digging again late Thursday night after we came home with the tiny nut of you, but then I changed my mind. there is a scrabbling indentation where we laid down the small child’s spade. a pause. and then. some days, it’s the point I bring my eyes back to and take a deep breath. there’s something more here, but I’m not sure how to say it. I am learning, but I’ve all run out of pace
Elizabeth Welsh is a poet, short fiction writer and academic editor. Her debut collection of poetry is Over There a Mountain (Mākaro Press, 2018). Her poetry and short fiction have been published in journals and anthologies in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In 2012, she won the Divine Muses – NEW VOICES – Emerging Poets Award. She lives in Titirangi with her husband and daughter.