My Nephew Born Not Breathing
Bluebirds perch on a fence beside the house you'll grow up in,
a flock of robins glide one by one out of tall spruces,
the yard sleeps under snow. A day old, you fly
with helicopter wings. A baby hummingbird,
you like being fed drops of sugar water.
I sneak past security to see you, swaddled in the NICU,
in a nest of tubes and wires. With the back of my hand,
I reach in to stroke your soft head feathers. The snow melts,
a three-legged deer leaps up from her resting place,
she stumbles and falls on her face. The koi fish buried under ice,
they could die without a vent hole. Newborns need to breathe
through their noses. At two weeks your daddy finds a rock,
pounds the foot-thick ice. At three weeks a surgeon tunnels
through cartilage from your nose into your throat.
The fish alive, you breathe like the three-legged deer
who bounds right up, sprints through what's left of snow.
Lisa Meserole teaches music and movement to young children in Connecticut. This summer she will be one of the Edwin Way Teale Artists-in-Residence at Trail Wood. Her poems have previously appeared in Connecticut River Review, Earth's Daughters, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Healing Muse, Illya's Honey, and Shot Glass Journal.