body

He’s suckling, urging milk to mouth, and it flows, electric veins through my chest, body throbbing with the pulse of feeding life in arms, and now he’s slurping, milk bubbles at mouth, and I marvel at the way my life feeds his when I was told I couldn’t. Doctors staring at 60-pound self purple with pneumonia saying, Never. She’ll never have a child and me not caring, only wondering why I couldn’t lose more weight. Bones, I counted each before bed, fingers on ribs making sure they jutted out, Anorexic mind calculating food for next day, tummy crying like an angry baby begging to be fed. Then, slowly, very slowly, starting to eat again, blood beginning to flow in maternal patterns, tummy quieted for the moment until marriage, when body became his and his, mine, and nothing was private, no room at the inn, and suddenly, starvation became lifeline and once again my tummy wept and bones protruded, blood flow stopped and mind went numb. Losing… and then, that day on the road when we screamed and he said, me or food, and I chose him, his body, his mind, his soul, as mine, and slowly, again, covered up my bones and blood started to flow and we began to try for more bodies in this little house until one day, rejoicing, faint lines on stick, planning names, talking to womb, praying for life internal then, the doctor’s face, and, no heartbeat, and, dying inside. Blood again flowing—bad blood–taking baby with it and tears, wet on face, and everywhere, liquid. Amidst the liquid, pre-cancerous cells, faint rejoicing that they’d been found like sheep gone astray, and now, trying again, body tender and sore, making love until we wept then strong line on stick and happy songs; heartbeat, like tiny footsteps against my womb and glowing, growing, my body a garden, papoose-bearing-vessel. No longer me, but us, child from my skin: bones covered with baby. Then, nine-month pain, from places I didn’t know I had, secret rooms within my body screaming and the baby, sliding from a hole which somehow widened, the cave within, and me, opening myself up to unspeakable pain and preparing to die, when suddenly, in my arms, baby-life, nuzzling breast and so, I continue, feeding miracle-milk, not knowing why the doctors were wrong but oh so glad they were.

(written for Geez magazine)

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4 Comments

  1. Teneale said,

    February 13, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    It is truly a miracle…though each babe is a miracle. Please God, send us more miracles.

  2. Teneale said,

    February 13, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    ps, I like the new format.

  3. February 16, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Your testimony magnifies your God.

    And your words feed me too….

  4. February 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I’ve read this a few times, and is it okay if I don’t know what to say?
    I picture you and your baby looking into each other’s eyes. That you couldn’t have known, but that now you do.


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