On this new year, in this new century
my first child is born, a daughter.
Mrs. Beaumont come to midwife,
she got me through ten hours of pain
which is all but forgotten now that I hold my babe
in my arms and out the window the forsythia bushes dance
in the warming wind. I call her Mary Inez,
after you, her aunt Mary Ann.
I wish you could see her, she looks like our momma
with her blue eyes and her perfect round face
rimmed by a halo of dark hair.
I hope it don’t turn red like yours and mine
for the sun will eat her up.
She goes after my breast like a hungry
lion cub and when I pull her off, she cries
like a mad-angry panther in the night. The world
will have to contend with my Mary Inez.
Well, the pale horse and rider
has visited my house once
again. He come down
this mountain and took away
my dear Harrison
night before last
right from our bed.
You know I loved the daddy to Mary Inez
and Albert, but Harrison was the husband
who took away my breath
and although we only had our time
together in months instead of years
he left me with his child
in my body, a child to raise
Mrs. Boden has stayed
with me these two nights,
She did the string test
on my belly though I’m not
showing a baby yet. I know
she did it to slow my tears
and take my mind another
direction. The string said
there’s a girl and I feel
that it’s right. But I fear
all my salty tears will make
her a melancholy child.