Before You Were Born

In this way I held you and spoke to you

holding long conversations

my arms caressing my basketball sized stomach

as I told you everything I was doing every day.

You were for that interval detained,

floating dreamlike within your aquarium globe.

I would speak to you whenever the outside volume

became too distracting—-

when the threat of impending violence tensed the surrounding air.

He would be ranting about something

and so I would sit on the edge of the bed and sing to you,

“Don’t you listen to him; mommy loves you”—

my arms around the you inside of me—

placing my palms just where I thought your budding ears might be,

to keep you, I hoped, from hearing his voice.

Once, before you were born

I ran from him down the street

and again my arms desperately held you.

This time they formed a kind of lift, a restraint

against the jostling of juices as I held my bountiful belly

like a young boy who has just kidnapped a prized ripe watermelon from the neighbor’s yard.

Before you were born,

as your first endocrinological  seas were forming,

establishing their own recipe transmuted from his ocean and mine,

I did not know then you would memorize those voices,

that you would carry them with you,

an imprint left

before you were born.






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