Something that brings my mother joy is writing poetry. This is my favorite of all her poems. It’s somewhat prophetic that the poem is partially about me trying to keep my own “baby” alive and failing when I was a child, just like my own body often failed to hold pregnancies when I became an adult. And yet, the poem ends triumphantly with the impending birth of my beloved brother, whose upcoming visit next week I am already celebrating.
Awaiting Your Birth
By Judith Waller Carroll
As you shifted and swam
beneath my billowing dress,
your big sister caught a salamander,
its slippery body sliding
through her fingers into the glass dish.
She tried hard to find the perfect balance
of water and rocks, but gradually
its spirit floated away from its skin,
even as you were about to plant
your water-logged feet
firmly in time.
I need to note for copyright purposes that this poem won second prize in the Tallahasee Writer’s Association’s Penumbra Contest. (She also won first prize for “Leaving Montana” 🙂 ) Both the poems will be published in the 2011 copy of the Seven Hills Review.