may twenty-third

Grey room

begins to glow. 

Among the dust

specks of light 

hitch a ride.

Following orders:

seeking darkness

to uncover.

Chain breaks. 

Mom awakes.

A tiny fist

grips the delicate gold necklace.

Confusion bubbles up

Drowsiness clouds in 

A million puzzle pieces scattered 

Where has she been?

Presently, the glow alights

along the spine 

of a brand new babe

curled up tight

there on her chest.

How could she

have missed

the arrival of this gift?

Above her bed 

in the sunrise glow 

a whiteboard stares back.

Scribbled notes

written in black – 

she reads the stats:

“It’s a girl!”

Date of birth: the twenty-third

Her first breath at two am.

Her weight, just over 8

Mom adjusts in the bed.

Pain erupts.

Flows like lava 

searing through 

a deep incision still so fresh. 

She winces at the pain,

cradles the baby on her chest.

Then she sees

the man she loves.

Finally, he rests.

Clouds lift.

Fog sifts.

Clarity peeks through.

While she was sleeping

he was busy being

all the things

she could not be.

Making up lost time,

she snuggles her baby close –

inspects ten fingers,

ten toes,

soft baby skin

and a sweet baby nose.

Specks of light 

continue their dance

around the room.

They float and spin and prance.

Gathering, growing – 

transforming the gloom.

Now brightness abounds.

Recollections of that day 

still roll in for her

as waves on a quiet shore.

They are small, they are slight…

They are brilliant specks of light.

When they show up,

She captures them,

Tucks them safely in her heart

Like a firefly placed in a jar.

Inside they fly

They glow

They flicker

They help her to remember.

My sweet Elowyn turns 4 today.

In a crazy twist of medical weirdness, I missed her birth. As in, I was completely knocked out when she was brought earthside by an emergency C-section. I wrote all about it here, but that’s the gist of it. I first met my daughter hours after her birth, in the quiet of our hospital room as the morning sun filtered in when I was awakened by the snapping of my necklace in her small fist. I can talk about it now without sobbing, and I can even joke about it sometimes. But I genuinely hope that one day in heaven I’ll get to see a sort of replay of her arrival. And until then, I’ll hang on to my small jar of memories that I do have from that day.

I first began this poem back in March of 2022. I must have been thinking back on the events around her birth without even really realizing it, because I woke up in the middle of the night with the beginning of this poem already formed in my head. I tapped the first few lines into my phone’s notes app to revisit the next morning, and it was one of those rare instances where almost this entire piece flowed out of me in one sitting. This poem has sat patiently in my document drafts for over a year now, but as Elowyn’s birthday approached, I decided it was finally time to polish it up a bit and share it.

Happiest birthday, my beautiful baby girl. I am so honored to be your mom.

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