by jael bietsch

Life moved through me, liquid
movement, too big to breathe, merging
ethereal and corporeal, fused
at the axis, passing anguish,
breathe, focus, find your safe places,
time races, tightens and she's leaving,
contortions cleaving this soul from me,
. . . breathe, breathe . . .
severing existence from existence,
and she's thrashing, writhing
to her emancipation, now

Momentary silence,
awed by this slippery handful of life. . . .
With the crack of the slap
she's sentenced to life and learning
to breathe for herself.
in startled breaths,
whole and round,
singularly real.
Turning in my hands,
working her way
away, each small breath
a separation.

I am my daughter's keeper,
she my anguish,
yearning to return her
to safe places, secure
her to my center. Re-tucking
her nightly, only to feel her
breathe, holding my own breath. Uneasy
over children in Oklahoma and Dunblane,
. . . those mothers . . .
repressing identification,
needing never draw heavy breaths
of severance, enduring
suffocation. Each mother willing her baby

Life miraculous, pernicious,
mysterious, engulfs us, overwhelming
existence, and feather-lace wisps
of small souls seeking deliverance.
Frail hearts who must
slip into autonomy.
Tossing liberation over
their shoulders in exuberance
and backward running glances.
Growing away into sentences and shoelaces.

Growing away
from me. Determining herself
intense pangs of life,
that children leave,
and life is sometimes too big
to breathe.

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    © 1998 Jael Bietsch

    This site created and maintained by Off the Page Graphics.
    March 8, 2000