by Susanna Childress
What did she know? Well, the first one came slick and fast and split her skin in the water where she bobbed and breathed him down in the tub of true water, the woman, you know, saying, That’s it, That’s it. How could she know? All at once, you know, he caught the baby’s body with his palms, and That would never be it again, the tumult trapped in love manifesting more than love + tumult: you know what I mean? All at once he held up the thing they call Son and laid him on her chest. And what does she know? They told her, You’ll never be the same, and stepped aside to see such truth expand her. To mother: manifest. You know? She couldn’t say, I’ll never be the same, not because it wasn’t true, but, you know, who can say such things about the self. It was an instant. Then another and then another. You know what I mean. How would you, like, say? If not manifest, transcendent. If not—What does she know? At her breast, a being with bright black eyes, shining. I mean, really? Small, sputter, bleat, stare, having made (it from there to here, alive) her mother. But how?—transcendent, redolent. Could you talk a bit more about—Yes and no. I mean, inside her heart the boar with its tusks speared a star and nobody on this planet spoke its sorrow. Its simultaneous gobs of light pooling in her mouth. You know?
About the Author
Susanna Childress has published two volumes of poetry and is finishing up a collection of lyric essays and hybrid fragments forthcoming from Awst Press titled Extremely Yours, some of which can be found at The Rumpus, Idaho Review, Crazyhorse, Rhino, Iron Horse Literary Press, Flying Island, and Oakland Review. She lives and teaches along the western shore of Michigan.