Conception, 1967

She woke to webs of valentines strung across the ceiling

above their married-two-years/wedding-night-virgins double bed.


          I waited patiently, weighing different combinations

          of fatherly eloquence and motherly love,

          trying on traits like discount shoes,

          leaving them in piles in the aisles of infinity.


He hung them while she slept, romantic spider with big, thick hands,

spinning silk of paper and scotch tape.


          I waited patiently, studying tintypes and photographs,

          maps of Germany and the British Isles,

          reading names and passports,

          ignoring the stillness and impossibility of time.


The red hearts circulated gently in the easy February air

whispering promises that would, as it turned out, last a lifetime.


          I waited patiently, until, I began,

          exploding in a symphony of cytoplasm,

          splitting and multiplying in deafening combinations of electrical impulses.

          Crafting instantly my list of things to do and people to love,

          already onto the second page before my mother’s breathing slowed

          and her laughter bounced off woven paper hearts

          to germinate the nucleus of me.





copyright Megan E. Freeman, published in Lessons on Sleeping Alone, 2015



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Megan E. Freeman 2019