“The Good Birth”

Buon Natale
Natal: of, pertaining to Birth

Jesus, do you know if you were born
a bruising eight pound baby boy
or were you a lightweight ball of skin and bone
covered with cheesy vernix and downy
fine-haired dark lanugo?
Did you come crying and kicking,
flailing hands
protesting your forced expulsion
from that warm cushioned nest
where you were snugly wrapped
beneath your mother’s drumming heart?

Did you agonize the eviction of God’s
absolute love, your helpless form,
into a cold, fragile, human world?
Did the midwife leave an imprint
of her fingers red on your tender skull
as she pulled You into your first
spontaneous breath under a midnight sky?

Or why do I doubt only a gentle push
poured you seamlessly from darkness
and physical constraint into a flight
of light and movement
stretching free limbs in rhythmic dance?
That cries of wonder, joy, delight
resonated with angel’s songs
echoed from heaven’s throne
into a welcome earthly home?

Consider this: your first baptism
into the reality of corporeal life—
the gush of a woman’s blood and water,
her tears on your cheeks.
Your first whiff of earth’s habitation
an assault of sweat, excrement,
a taste of salt on your lips
prior to her sweet colostrum.
The first focus of your eyes—
your mother’s red rimmed,
the bewildered blinking of a brindled
milch cow.

Did you wriggle under the touch
of love’s rough hands as they dried you off,
swaddled your naked form in coarse cloth,
and lay you beside your mother in a cattle’s cold manger
where often we lay you now—safe
from the center of our hearts,
your existence in our lives?

c. Darlene Moore Berg 2004

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