I watched as they opened her
stomach like a pomegranate, felt around
yanked him out of the mess of yarn
and spools, held up a genuine miniature
human being, and surely it was a nurse’s pinch
that made his face contort that way.
They divided and some sewed up my stepmother
others took him aside, cut his cord, cleaned
him of the yellow muck with a terrible towel
all of them in blue, efficient and manhandling
my brother with procedure. Quiver of living flesh
you know it, you recognize it, so that during
their rough-housing when his body rolled
towards me purple, still, and like rubber
his fists clenched into red clams
I knew he was dead.
Of course they shoved metal
objects into his throat, slapped the bottom
of his feet and he learned to breathe.
It is at home as I watch him sleep
that my heart grips
until dreams from maybe another lifetime
project on his flitting little eyelids
and I’m sure he is alive
then I too learn to breathe.