Harry Man’s exquisite poem captures the magic and anticipation that surrounds the birth of a child. Illustration by Raid71 — aka Chris Thornley.
The white artery of your spine
hovers beneath a butterfly’s ghost;
wings budding into flight
twice a second, heartbeat by heartbeat.
The isthmus of your foot kicks in the fluid;
the pressure of the sensor, ticklish.
With the end of his biro the doctor
circles your magnified hand gloved in light
and this shimmer, this afterthought of air
in the trees is the breath of your mother.
Night-blind you will fumble back
to its anthem through the clicks
of your hardening head.
This song, secret as a light switch,
is how your breathing will be.
The warmth of my wrist on your belly;
your pulse and mine in time–
the first of your strengths is to be loved.
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