MY LIFE AS A FETUS

The day cedes to night, and in-between is filled with grief and treachery. The sun fades ~ hysterically (i.e. the crimson’s shout: “Good Bye! God Bless! Be Kind!” as it sinks, God’s fist pushing it under), or more typically at this time of year the gray day will simply gray down dimmer, and then it’s softly dark. The transition’s a void, and temptation has settled there; my task ~ to sit unruffled inside my skin. When the sun withdraws, a bit of self leaves with it, leaving, in turn, a kind of hollow. What will fill it? Wine? Stories? Winter stew? Sometimes it is wine and it is difficult to turn off that spigot, and this is not good. What hollow strains not to be felt? Is it fetal? Did the fetus twirl away from a perceived ambivalence, an overheard regret?

My life as a fetus was short and unspectacular, as I recall. I did not have a favorite color. It was dark, like being stuck behind an eyelid, yet I floated indistinguished from the whirled galaxy weightless and without responsibility. Consciousness was fed by raw sensation. Predictions of winter storms trigger an anticipation of retreat and comfort now ~ the bed, the plump quilt, the sinking, a tingling that mists the brain like finger tips drawn through warm paint.

Figuratively I revert to breast milk and pabulum; I will often drink out of a deep thirst. My blood quickens as I imagine taking that first sip – tequila, gin, red wine. I hail the false breast, and my life, thus, before the press of names and gender. I did not miss my lack of options then. My efforts were not graded – only to observe unobserved and held, however ambivalently, in safety.

The seas were not calm, though; there was worry. I grew vigilent ~ to valves opening and shutting; to softened thuds beyond the springy walls, to the slosh of a quick turning.

And here it would always come, unhappily ~ oatmeal again!

Sometimes a sour smell pervaded ~ a bad feeling, like a chip of rancid nut, a bad oil, lodged. Sometimes overheard, a scuttling of doubt. But of course there is no other room in the womb to go to; it’s all one singular, pulsing hollow ~ bladder, bagpipe, moon. Regardless, sleep would not feel this good again, the enveloping cloth of it. Oh, the myriad templates laid down.

What did I inherit from my first home?

The way out seemed clear. I waited for the welcoming, thunderous applause. But that would come only much, much later.