shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Lisa Meserole

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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.