In seventynine

June 15, 2011

In seventynine,
my birth,
was accessorised by:
my umbilical cord
wrapped five times round my neck,
and my mother’s refusal to cry out

Later, a doctor pointed
to her and said
to another woman:
‘Be quiet! If she had screamed like you do,
her child would not have made it’.
Then I was brought out,
a caterpillar wrapped
in a hospital blanket
and held like a prize
for the brave and the silent

Years later,
she was the one wrapped
in a blanket.
She was breathing heavily –
a wheezing fuse
of life
almost at an end
she opened her eyes (the last time) and
her head jerked towards me.
Her eyes opened, then she passed,
and they closed again.

The dog was deaf by then
and slept peacefully.
He thought that two people he loved
were in the room.


10 Responses to “In seventynine”

  1. Claudia said

    hey anton – this made me cry…i’m so glad you made it and so sad your mom died.. i wasn’t there when my dad died…visited him the day before and for the first time held his hand and knew he would go. an excellent poem with so many details to like – the caterpillar wrapped in a blanked – a prize for the brave and silent was my fav i think..

  2. brian said

    ugh…you took me right back…my first son was a really hard birth, as much as my MIL was a really hard pass…two of the most difficult nights of my life…

  3. Oh so sad. Sorry about your mom. Having had two “caterpillar’s” myself, I can relate to the complications of birth. Interesting connection between the two. Sober but nice write.

  4. Such a strange, anticlimactic ending. I think it almost works, and if you can get it to work, it’ll be stunning. Feel like it needs one more line though, maybe something referring to the fact that there aren’t still 2 people in the room (though I realize that might sound trite)? Anyways, nice delicate touch on a gutwrenching subject.

  5. Oh how touching this is, and when you mentioned the dog I simply caved. Hands down the best write this blog hop for me.

  6. I felt this one, and the ending is perfect…

  7. Pat Hatt said

    A very touching and moving write, nicely contructed and written.

  8. hollyheir said

    My mother had one other child, female, when I was four. It strangled on the umbilical. All our lives went to hell shortly thereafter. Mother stayed depressed until I had children of my own. My father disappeared forever (well he showed up at my wedding but that’s a crazy other story) and I spent my life thinking it was all my fault because I stomped on my grandmother’s foot and made her cry when she pulled my hair trying to braid hair much too fine for it.

  9. Samanthamj said

    This was extremely moving… and well written. Thank you for sharing.

    Yep, the wheel of life… goes round and round. I was pregnant with my 2nd son when I lost my father… helping one leave this world.. while preparing for the entry of the other – really pounded that whole “circle of life” thing home for me…

    And, I love the ending of this… with the deaf dog… great imagery and reality check. (I’m sure the dog came to his other senses soon enough and grieved with you, though).

  10. Emma said

    What a poem. Your narrative is haunting and stirring, and your details place me right in the room with you on both occasions. I love the way you create suspense in a sense with the triple ‘and’ (one per line) and your ending with the dog who ‘thought that two people he loved were in the room’- damn…this is a stellar poem in my book.

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