Birth Day: The Video

The space of writing does not open like a door even though it is the

eve of your first birthday and the windows of our city shimmer

tonight like candles waiting for the big breath of a wish. We videoed

your birth, your mother and her midwives and I together in the

bedroom of our house; we thought of our first present to you as the

address of your birthplace, the familiarity of your first bed. You were

stuck in transition for a long time. I tell you this not to exact a price

but because of the way my eyes were opened on your mother that

day; away from where she groaned in the bedroom we took ourselves

aside and discussed a C-Section, the trip to the hospital unless or if.

I admired her also the way I admire athletes, exerting herself for a

purpose – we used this language to prepare ourselves – those groans

were the groans of a woman who did not allow the body to stop her.

But I find it hard, almost impossible, to watch the video now; it

unshields me in a way I did not think it would, in a way being there,

holding her, then you, did not. When I say I will write this, she tells

me, Remember how she was born because they lost the sound of her heart,

why I had to push so hard and fast, tearing the skin because of that silence. May

this always be a gift we give; we could not wait to hear you.


from Big Breath of a Wish (Wolsak and Wynn, 1998),© Richard Harrison 1998, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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