Miracle Child


“What if one were to run after a ray of light?”

                                                                     ~ Albert Einstein
When first they saw their son

swimming in the grey ultrasound glow

they asked no questions –

not wanting to look

a gift horse in the mouth,

I suppose. They joked:

Hope it has your lungs,

he said. Your kidneys, she said.

The blank-faced technician, rubbing

her seeing wand over their future, only made

them laugh. And they went on

to where the earth gave forth

hot springs. Floating in warm water,

all the stars in the night sky

reflected on her belly. They didn’t think

to worry. Not until

the doctor, small and kind as a leprechaun,

offered – like the unlucky leaves of some clover –

four possibilities, all dire. Only one

would not mean certain death,

though even that was uncertain.

To know would take a needle in the gut

of mother and child, womb water,

blood and urine, days of

waiting. They lay on the bed where

first the child had come to being, holding fast

through the long hours of no answers.

Was it because of something

she ate, medicine he took, long ago

or worse, that they had forgotten to pay

attention? The pain

they suspected, would be proportional

to their hope. Better, then, not to want

what couldn’t be, almost

easier to contemplate a return to

the way they had been, two

instead of three. Was it not

for the better at this stage to abandon

belief? There in that dark room,

still the old light of the stars shone through

the night window. Who can say what

caused the infinite in her heart to open,

and the knowing to begin?

Years later, she heard her young son explain why

we feel euphoria around someone we love.

Our brain, he said, releases dopamine; imagine floating

in just right warm water. And she returned

to that moment when first she understood

the incomprehensible scale of hope.

~ Virginia Bellis, 2013


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