Before You Were Born
My arms caressing my basketball sized stomach
I held you
as I spoke to you
holding long conversations
telling 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
I did not know then you would always hear those voices
that you would always be running.
D. Marie Fitzgerald
Palm Springs, Ca. Branch