You could touch the head now.
Just there. See.
Put your hand down.
Touch the head.
Irritation severs the concentration
Tethering me to sanity.
Tears down walls
Between me and fear.
The world is contracted.
To just this
Perfect convulsion of muscle and blood.
The rupture of membranes
Slow burn of skin-fissures opening to the pool.
I bite my way around the blue rubber.
I hear him laugh at the perfect line of teeth-marks.
The radio is wrong.
There can be no world outside of this:
Where there is no I
Only a lowing, moaning animal
calling to a God who does not hear.
She hushes me and is
Hushed in return.
Let her cry out.
That first time, it was to death.
As I fought against the bloody rhythm of birth.
Now, in this nexus,
meeting-place for life and death
I am Omphalos.
And from my baetyl belly
you are called out.
She casts a line of voice.
Hooks and reels.
Interrupts instinctive expulsive intention.
Little breathes she says.
Now pant pant pant pant
The pool flushes sudden red
And your round head is born into the waters.
Briefly, you hover between worlds
Between dreaming and being.
Until that final shudder delivers me to myself.
And she gently scoops you from the flood
Into my arms.
I hear your father’s sob of breath.
A Robin’s song from the gardens beyond this room.
The tea trolley trundling up the ward.