LINES: Jessica Sowards
It was summer when we planted you.
In a stolen afternoon or a rare and coveted night.
I don’t know which.
I can only be sure that it was the kind of happening
that comes and goes in married life
The kind that you don’t recognize at the time as extraordinary.
But a few weeks later, as the leaves turned
crimson and gold but I did not bleed, I knew.
You were there.
And your brother learned to crawl and still clutched at my breast
and my time for recovery turned back into the first trimester.
I was angry.
At your father who loved you already and who trusted God so easily.
I was angry at God and the load He found me capable of bearing.
I did not feel capable.
So I asked Him to help me be.
And we grew.
And when the ice snapped the branches and Christmas
sat packed in cardboard boxes on the kitchen floor,
I felt you stir for the first time.
And they told me you would be my fourth son.
And then you were real.
Daffodils sprouted in a warm week in February.
Then hung their yellow heads after a late March freeze.
And my excitement waxed and waned like the moon,
a bright shining beacon one night and then swallowed by darkness the next.
I was afraid.
You see, there isn’t much left of a mother after everyone has had their share.
And the piece I had, I wanted to keep,
to put my name on it and place it on a high, safe shelf,
out of reach of tiny, grasping hands.
I was afraid to give up the assurance that there would always be enough
But the fear is melting now.
The days are longer and the new life of spring
is exploding in and around me.
April has brought warmth at last.
And you are running out of space.
You are healthy.
I feel your bones and their strength pressing from the inside
against my skin.
I feel the rhythmic rumblings of your hiccups deep inside my hips.
I dream of the infinite possibility of you.
Of how you will laugh
and who you will be.
Of the change you will effect on this world as you have in my heart.
I have fallen in love with you. Later than I would have liked.
But hard and deep just the same.
And I realize now that the piece left of me is just the right size
for one more small boy.
And it has had your name
on it all along.
Ezra. It means Help.
And Jude. Which means praise.
I will see you soon.