Stillborn

by You Have My Word

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Mourning has a lot to be desired.

Bearing sounds that should only be found in a horror-movie butchery or a deserted slaughter house. It runs deeper than sorrow. It is greater than grief. Good grief! Why do people say that? Do they not know that there is no such thing! They clearly have not lost something as beautiful as you.

“Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.”

Nine months ago we were only two mangled bodies in a furnace of passion. Post-dinner rampage burning up between sheets: sweat drips, hair grips, clothes rip – I don’t remember if we ate dessert that night, or whether it rained on our way home. I know only the smell of flesh and singed skin after a fire raged through. And oh what a fire it was.

Fast-forward and I’m cramped up clutching my stomach and the toilet bowl. Morning sickness was a lie; I’ll be sick for the rest of my life retching the most unsuspecting moments of a day away. I will know you only in nausea and pain. I can’t even stomach myself these days.

Your birthing day: hospital clothes, baby bag, contractions, ice-cubes and senseless anticipation. You emerged still warm… still born! You left us a broken, bloodied mess – the only evidence that life had ever known your veins as home. And so I beg them not to bleed out the last remains of you.

Tears will wash the floor of a hospital tonight.

When I first saw your small frame in clinical hands I recognised my soul for the first time: lifeless. I laboured till your death – knitting eye-lashes and lung cavities and a heart that would beat and hair and tiny teeth and webbed hands that would one day be perfect, held up to me: “Mommy, mommy! Look! I can count to five!” You will never count to five.

“Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.”

Doctors say that at seven months your eyes could open and you could cry. I am all too familiar with that motion, emotion, pointless notion. My own eyes burn. I do not blink – I hate to think I’d never wake up again… like you. I will never know the colour of your eyes.

When I expected to hear you cry as you severed your way into the “wake up, wake up, wake up baby please! wake up” world, all I heard a nurse three beds away counting out pills for someone else to make it through another day. Will they give me those pills too?

We are beautiful, bitter-full battleships in a storm. Jesus! Slept through the storm! “Be still,” he commanded and you were still born. I will never sleep again.

“Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.”

I did not promise that this would be a happy poem. As clear as star-gazing in an open field, I can taste the tales of war when I’m alone… thinking of you.

 

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The other spoken word piece I performed at the last Spoken Sessions launch. This is probably the most emotionally draining, invested piece I have ever written or performed.

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Listen to the full version of “Let it be” here.

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