In Utero

for Cindy Warmbier

What the doctors call unresponsive
wakefulness is a brute truth—yet
it is also poetic: because what the North Koreans
will never understand
is they have just returned Otto Warmbier
to his mother’s aching belly.
Forget more information: she is the exact space
of his existence, and with the hum of a symphony in her mouth,
she may go to work: harvesting the flitting heart,
blinking eyes, and tiny kicks
of a baby she believes can hear her.
Now she will do the thinking,
the loving, and his neurons: they will practice the growing,
all fire, all pop,
all snap: purposeful, as movement, always,
makes what is human—like when water breaks,
or limbs part,or purple suns rise as half-moons from the transparent beds
of fingernails, just so the heavens might be seen.
Unto the world must then be delivered
a sweet, radiant boy, his mother exclaiming:
This is my son. This is my son.
And in a faraway land, we will all feel
the unimaginable tremor of his breathing.


Originally published in Dime Show Review

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