For a Young Friend Giving Birth

The unforgettable hours
white light, a thumbprint on the eyelids
when the pain brings doubt, what is at the root
of the worst suffering. In a seasonless place the humming ward
you drink in algal bloom, the origins of everything;
in night’s long attenuation you grasp at iridescent ripples. Offstage, a siren.
Despite painted toenails, you are prehistoric, traces of oud clinging to hair
the body swimming away, the pulse jumping with crazed currents.
Upon inquiry, you possess no mother, no living female kin
but the nurse who pulls you once & again into consciousness
skiff/ anchor /sundial/staticky hymn. Who will suture you?
There is no time, only rough hours to oar.
A ghost aunt lies beside you as the center tips, mouthing underwater
kisses—a hurricane has buried the slant turquoise house.
The baby comes so slowly: high & stubborn
beneath your heart, she will always cleave to you. This is said.
The racket in my blood quiets, you stroke the dark head, the yes

Carol Alexander

Carol Alexander’s most recent collection is Fever and Bone (Dos Madres Press, 2021). Her work has been widely published in anthologies and journals such as About Place Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Caesura, The Common, Cumberland River Review, Denver Quarterly, Matter, Mobius, Numinous, One, Pif, Potomac Review, Ruminate, San Pedro River Review, Southern Humanities Review, Stonecoast Review, Sweet Tree Review, Terrain.org, Third Wednesday, Verdad, and The Westchester Review. Additional work is forthcoming in Delmarva Review, Free State Review, and RHINO. With Stephen Massimilla, Alexander is co-editor of Stronger Than Fear: Poems of Empowerment, Compassion, and Social Justice (Cave Moon Press, 2022).

Parable of the Sower
A Passion