Notes from the delivery room

Notes from the Delivery Room
by Linda Pastan

Strapped down,
victim in an old comic book,
I have been here before,
this place where pain winces
off the walls
like too bright light.
Bear down a doctor says,
foreman to sweating laborer,
but this work, this forcing
of one life from another
is something that I signed for
at a moment when I would have signed anything.
Babies should grow in fields;
common as beets
or turnips
they should be picked and held
root end up, soil spilling
from between their toes –
and how much easier it would be later,
returning them to earth.
Bear up . . . bear down . . . the audience
grows restive, and I’m a new magician
who can’t produce the rabbit
from my swollen hat.
She’s crowning, someone says,
But there is no one royal here,
Just me, quite barefoot,
Greeting my barefoot child.

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