A Poem: The Infant Ones

Mar 3, 2021 | Birth and Parenting, Creativity, Poetry

We capture first moments on film. Birth photographs show who is there to greet the newborn. I love this photograph of my son holding my daughter with me looking on and their dad taking video footage. Proof of love. Proof of belonging. Proof of welcome. As a person adopted as an infant in a closed adoption, I don’t know who held me and welcomed me. I know it was not my birth mom nor my birth grandmother. Some kind nurse, I suppose. or a team of nurses who held me, fed me, soothed me (or not). One mysterious someone attached a ribbon to my head using corn syrup on my fourth day when the Vissers picked me up from the hospital. These moments matter. The “golden hour” after birth matters. Yes, I had a loving adoptive family. Yes, I have navigated successfully in life. AND I know that maternal separation is trauma. Years and layers later, I still struggle with echoes of grief, loss, and trauma from my first breath moments. This poem, The Infant Ones, explores that world of pre-verbal experience.  

The Infant Ones

we remember
we remember
we know

blood pounding
waters holding
arms touching
inside her

rose light glows
muffled sounds heard
her voice hums
my world sways

we remember
we remember
we know

ready now feel
warmth rush past
me pushing
pushed emerging
bright light blinking
cold open
air breathing
mouth searching
not finding

cut off

torn away
carried away
wheeled away
handed away

the infant ones know
now grown, we know

we remember
we remember
we know

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