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His First Week

Wendy Wisner

I feared the blood on the sheet,
the knifey zap of letdown,
the choking spray of milk.
Each time he fell asleep, his death.
And when he wouldn’t sleep,
his gray, feral eyes.
My face: puffy, swollen,
as though I’d suckled at the amnion,
drowned in the birth pool.
And what if I did die,
what if he had no mother, no milk.
What if we never slept again,
and the world became dream
and the dream became world.
I feared the world,
the polar ice caps melting,
my son never knowing
winter, his life an endless summer,
his lungs, his skin, the boy
who had grown in my body
black and burning.
It was winter and the bedroom
was shot with bourbon light.
I folded him up in a blanket
and carried him through the apartment.
This is it, I told him,
the sink gleaming with dishes,
my old clothes in twisted heaps on the floor.

Wendy Wisner

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