What It Is To Be Saved

by Shaun Terry

Lifeless jowls, cue balls where eyes should be,
the result of a vision of tight, matted ebony swirls,
like thick, used motor oil against an ivory canvas of fresh flesh.

Birthing is a physical impossibility.

A phantasmic rugby ball being squeezed through a coin slot,
followed by tiny, narrow, rounded, pudgy, piggish shoulders,
one after the other,
squeezing, slipping, sliding;
a tiny humaneque body being squished, crushed,
sucking four thousand tons of oxygen
through a coffee straw,
at a pace enough
to cause the room to reverberate.

A wail makes its way from her apple-sized newly-formed lungs,
and smiles cross several of the faces.

You are, if for a moment,
the most vulnerable creature on this small planet.
Your life is in the hands of a few strangers,
who go through this routine,
with a few smiles and reassurances.
The odds are in your favor,
in this case.

But I won’t and can’t let harm come to you.
I’ve been no sort of hero… to anyone,
but I’ll be yours.