Premature Labor

By James Bobrick

The digital display
would uptick, speed up, blur,
read out then ebb away,
idling on the monitor.
Contractions came each day.

The pregnant womb, once said
to mirror the heavens and earth,
now calls to mind instead
how tides that move toward birth
can cast us up stone dead,

tugged by receding galaxies….
What good was your daily rate
of growth by slow degrees,
each fifteen grams’ makeweight,
placed in the scales with these?

Still nine weeks to get through—
they had to intervene
when water broke, so you
were laid out, wrapped, washed clean,
then (presto) as if on cue

the nurse, magician-style,
palmed back the oxyhood:
there! breathing freely!—while
in your eyelid’s curve I could
trace the kouros’ archaic smile.



James Bobrick is Emeritus Professor of English at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and author of *Throwbacks: Selected Poems*. “Premature Labor” will be published in the upcoming issue of  The Cape Cod Poetry Review and is posted here with the author’s permission.


For more information about preterm labor, both for expecting parents and children born prematurely, the March of Dimes has a wealth of information available on their website.

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