27 May 1985
Yesterday Sunday lying with him on my chest hearing the Four Last
Songs, warm water pouring on my face, twitches, gasping breaths, face
freely swept. She wiped hers on my shin to say she's crying too.
Three weeks early, 6:50AM, here in the white room, with Jam and a midwife
called Camille Bush and her helper, in early morning light, with the scent
of lilac and phlox, after a silent night, the two midwives sleeping in kitchen
and middle room, Jam snoozing against my back. Breathing alone through acuteness
like hot yellow fluid steeping sometimes as far as the knees, concentrating
on seeing the shape, and then toward morning feeling another color and texture
starting to grip, saying I think you better tell Camille he's coming.
Suddenly the light on and three people at the foot of the bed. I'm on
hands and knees being a cow, cracking back there. Camille saying Good
work! Jam kissing my bum. I'm letting through amazingly complex pictures
of sensation, beyond comprehensible. But this is the way through, allow
it. Shaking. They say, Turn over, we can't hear the baby's heart in that
position. I hardly know how. They say, Put your hand here, feel the baby's
head. Soft, in folds. Crack again. The way it bursts out. Tumbles.
Says a little cry. They say Talk to him. He lies on belly looking
with one eye back and forth. A very small boy, an elf boy.
In the two days after he was born, when he was jumpy, calming him by
wrapping him tight, holding his hands firm on his chest, laying the light
bundle on chest or shoulder or between side and arm while we slept. Put
us to sleep with its lovely heat. Loving the way tiny person could be comforted
directly, understood. Heaven, you're in heaven, I was singing.
Today I hold him, head in my palm, large hand under his back, to nurse.
He does so seriously. The wince at the first. How long the nipple when it
comes out of his mouth.
Our child or mine. Headache. Bright, dazzling, cold wind. The intersection.
Phone line shadows, alley line across Hawks. The beauty lying on my bed
with a pulse in her throat, a Thousand Nights mouth. Then when I'm through
to looking at beauty after so much nowhere says she'll go.
This hard Sunday. From morning in J's house. She says I'm doing a scam.
It looks to me too, but I'll agree to anything that gets me out of her pressure.
Lying upstairs thinking of leaving Roy, piling blankets, will I call a taxi?
He grousing all night and morning. She wants me to let her name him,
I'll sooner do without her. Ugly business, exhausted. I can't name him because
we aren't true about her part. I say: We haven't got lovers, we don't know
She begins to bleed. So do I.
How it was. When she went haywire I sent her away to rest so I could.
Maybe having got the birth made, passed, safe passage paid for, helped,
I want her gone. Exhausted night she rivaling him, he not exquisitely newborn
now. Already I defend him against her jerky touch and don't want to wrangle
Changing so quickly: I don't want to be distracted.
She insisting on race and gender fidelities, mine.
I suspect myself rather of prostitution.
I suspect her of simply wanting to buy a boy for her folks.
I'm not saying what I know, I'm holding. He said, I want to sleep with
you every night. I had butterflies hearing it.
Oh dear one I want to lie down with a man's body. You're more than any
and still I want it. Guilty so I can be deceived and so I sell too much.
Going attentively not frightenedly getting what I want. Her kiss in the
van. 1 to 3 getting delicately deeper. Then again. House being mended. Happiness
this eve. When he begins his transition waking, call her to come, stand
weaving him at the north window, singing about the spaces, all the spaces
the clouds are making in, all the piles of rooms, grey and orange, the babe
in his nightie, sweet in my arm, eyes open listening to the engine (in
a body again).
She sleeps here. When he wakes for the day she takes him into bright
morning, I sleep. She comes back 2 hours later and makes tea and breakfast
when he sleeps. Mouth kisses, lily mud stirring. She goes home he sleeps
I work. She comes back to take him out with Sandy. I fritter. She brings
him back, goes to Joe's with S. We go to the Himalaya then her house then
the fill area behind the sugar factory. The Fairsky is docked. Walk alongside
it carrying the bundle. She in blue jacket or in my bed endless to look
at. She drops us home. Joyce Williams comes with a box of baby clothes.
Loving one. Hang up the curtains, the beautiful Sunday done. Radiant sky,
roses, green plums, foxgloves, love, thanks, gifts (the delight of the little
things), a surrounding of love connection.
Didn't say much today but sat with his hands around the little body.
Clown hair and such a bright eyed kindly distinguished Dutch father look,
new steady eye lines and livest round lip. Plant drawings.
Goes on as these days, run the bath, turn on the oven, cut bread, undress
myself and him wondering about the window, swim him, he gazes. Lift him
out, he cries, is it the heaviness come on him. Quickly fold the towel over
him, dry in the creases and pat the top of the head. Diaper and stretch
suit, put him and the pillow under the table. He stops crying and looks.
I get back in the water, wash face and armpits with soap, fur bush with
hand, splash out near him, dress. Bring him into the kitchen to sit. Make
toast and peanut butter. Walk to corner store with him on chest, to buy
milk. Come back, make tea, take toast and tea to bedroom. Put him to bed
on face, touch his back.
Sit in bed, try again to write Mary, pleased, it seems more from recent
Folds under the eye. Red hair tie. I know what needs, but how to be quiet
enough to give it. Body warmth. One hand, on the baby. Something from above
the head, from a distance. The hand flat and cold like a metal talisman
for healing. Somewhile later she brings her feet. A foot taking heat without
warming, like frozen. Meltwater at the eyes. Then remembering talking through
the night in the phone booth at the store. The light rain. The couple on
a motorcycle, dawn. We come through to laughing. Going home chilled so deep
I couldn't sleep, happy. Then, I think that was the morning I found the
mouse in the honey. I had to wash it off. It was shaking with cold. Because
its fur was stuck down, it was as if bald. I washed it in warm water. Had
to make a fire to heat the water. I remember the feel of washing it, it
was pregnant, this little swelled body. I used soap too, to melt the honey
off. I had to rinse it. Then I put it in a little box in the warming closet.
Did it struggle? Yes but it was very feeble, it had been struggling all
night probably. Later on when I heard it rustling I let it out.
"Your little stories about mice and moles like wands and medicaments."
The sense beside her of writing possible and beyond what I ever try.
Morning, he's asleep on my chest, I'm asleep too, a page I'm reading,
a phrase about a baby, I'm setting it where I see it goes. A small sound,
she's coming in, "I was just writing."
That I'd always choose her, my image-voice saying firmly and also -
The most beautiful of her faces, fairy antennas moving, mouth, brown
spots on a slope, eastern eyelash.
Little fuck with swirl over.
J was with T in a café.
M in twilight when I'm going to step into water, wants to care for his
baby more. I say don't come. He comes. I say I'm frightened. Why did I do
it like this. He says, It is so different for you, you can't expect it to
be smooth, you have to go back and forth.
Jules et Jim. I thought she was going to drive off the wharf.
I was thinking of being ready to jump out, I didn't know how to save myself
and him too.
Time can't be saved. It dies.
"It is hard to let your life diverge unknown."
Am I going to be more with you in another way.
Can I be close to myself now.
What is left is the baby, Michael friendly, Jamila in mind, the day,
A moment on the path weeding when the Chinese girl came out to speak
to me and was stopped by my stiffness in pain.
Going on transitionally. Love time, be true in it.
The going-softly summings after separation.
I say the little one has to have Michael because he is slower than we
are. If I see Michael I have to touch him. That's the decision, but I feel
so sharp her missing the baby. She said today he has new sounds. No one
to know that.
"I don't think you're meant to be with men. I think you're meant
to be with me. I see myself in China turning and seeing you."
Michael going downstairs with the green umbrella and baby pouch.
Noticing I'm uneasy with the garden this year, the flowering times I've
liked, are so brief.
"Jam and I saw a wonderful thing two evenings ago on Burnaby Mountain.
A long wide slope that had been seeded to lawn had been left uncut this
year, and the patches of grasses in the lawn mix, fescue, Kentucky bluegrass,
couch, red clover and others I don't know, were just coming into flower.
The different red-browns, greens, blonds, the fine crossings of the stalks,
the cleanness, brightness, liveliness, the proportions of the spaces taken
by each kind, the sharpness before seed and laciness after, the many ways
it could be seen and then the exquisite pattings and bowings of air movement
in it, looking to me like the little movements of baby-hands that we watch
And then Jam noticed she was standing in a field of flowering grass with
I remembered it was often this time of year when I'd come up north and
the ditches would give me so much delight." [letter to Mary]
For the first time since May moving the blue chest, sweeping behind it.
Confetti, yellow mauve purple: phlox lilac mock orange.