As if there were something other than this weather —
Ice-heavy branches bent beneath a purposeful weight.
As if there were something other than fright, this heavy-
handed strangeness. The child, who weighs nearly eighteen
pounds today, did not begin this way. No, then, slim
and wispy and slight; unaware of how you spun, split
yourself, spiraled into a vison of him, years out, old,
older, now but a wisp of skin and hair and nails. Nothing.
Nothing. In the series finale of your favorite cable television drama,
a young woman with insistent red hair drives away. Away
from her crazy, beloved family and toward a bright,
heavy life. Drives a heavy family away. Heaves a family finale.
Toward and away from now which feels as much like place
as time — your body in its milky topography with no map key
in the bottom left corner. The woman, a bright stranger
on the television. The child, a heaving stranger in your arms.
For two weeks now: dull ache, shut drapes, rocking, rocking,
rock-hard breasts in a hot shower, hoarse voice in a hot
shower, voice singing in a darkened room, voice brightening,
awakening, voice pushing you down. In the series finale, everyone dies
in their own time and you hand your child — whom you do love,
but inarticulately yet — to your husband and you weep
for five and a half hours. You know you will drown
amid these strange, bright fluids. You will all bend
beneath this sweet, frightful weight.
From Beautiful Nerve by Sheila Squillante, Tiny Hardcore Press. Copyright©2015 by Sheila Squillante. Previously published in Melusine, Winter 2010. Used by permission of the poet.