Standing in the garden of my childhood,
the sea of flowers had drowned in sand,
and I saw only a destructive world.
My womb became an empty genderless basket,
mother a minuscule black dot
on a forgotten past horizon.
Your upcoming arrival was written
on a surprise invitation in a foreign language.
Your needy cry was a giant bell tolling.
Giving goosebumps on my skin, your
clinging arms assured me of nothing,
but your caterpillar soul slithered slowly
and the hot ache melted me inside out.
I wanted to protect you from shame, vomit
erupting from mistakes you can’t erase.
I watched you on the play yard
running with the happy wind,
and a butterfly blossomed.
Natalie Marino is a writer, mother, and physician. She graduated with a BA in American Literature from UCLA. She lives in Thousand Oaks, California with her husband and two daughters. Her twitter handle is: @n_marinopoet.