Monday, February 18, 2019

a friend lost her baby, he was stillborn
which means he was perfect and ready but without a beating heart
she sent me twenty photos of him, lifeless and cold,
but in her heart he lived and suckled at her breast just like all the other babies born that day at the hospital
my grandmother told me I was a blue baby
which means I must have put my mother through a lot of trouble right from the moment I was conceived.
Married at 19, living in an alien land with its alien tongue, pregnant at 20,
her nausea must have been awful
she must have cried on nights that she was depressed.
Even though my father is a caring man,
i am sure they must have had their bad days.
in her ninth month I must have constricted her arteries, veins
so that when she was rushed to the hospital
after a long wait for a car, probably an ambassador
she must have creased her forehead with worrylines,
when the doctors discovered her blood pressure was way too high,
she must have prayed to a God that didn't care.
i imagine my grandma, frowning, hand on chest like she always does when she is worrying,
at the thought of her inexperienced, unprepared daughter being readied to be cut up across her belly
my mother still carries the scar and for a long time as a child,
I was repelled by the flesh rising on both sides of it
my grandma calls me on the phone and tells of how I was blue and lifeless and cold too
so when the doctors hung me upside down, holding me by my feet, slapping my behind twice and then gave up hope
my grandma pushed them away, grabbed me and slapped me in fury like i was some animal that had injured her
so that when I finally cried, but she still went on slapping, the doctors told her Amma stop, stop Amma, what are you doing?
so when she weeps over the phone and tells me how can i ever forgive myself for hitting you like that when the blood hadn't even dried on you,
i blink back hot tears and say, it was for my own good, you see for all that my young mother did, it was you who gave me life
perhaps that is why I am immune to people's condemnation,
or have a high pain threshold,
well, when you start off life like that,
with so much pain all around,
you just create your own shell

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