by Erika Walsh

When my mother was pregnant with me her retinas became detached

It was as if her eyes were attempting to crawl out of her skull to avoid the sight of me

Those eyes look at me now with love and no shame, but first impressions still count, don’t they?

They had to cut open her stomach to bring me to light

the cord connecting our flesh was wrapped three times around my neck

Her body was trying to destroy me

It knew I was not ready

Her body knew more than her brain and forget her heart,

It still beats in sync with my own.

Remember when I ate poison and the room melted into my skin?

You told me “darling you are just like me”

You told me “we are the same we are the same”

But my mind is too abstract to be diagnosed and shoved inside of a metal box

I do not want to be soothed and oppressed and sedated by antidepressants and mood stabilizers

Some days I do still choke on the idea of life but mother what is “prescribed” is not what is best and

Mommy doesn’t know best mommy only knows how to follow the leader.

Mom I never meant to call you words fit for the dirt underneath my fingernails.

Those ugly words were born inside of me and I did not know how to make them silent

I only knew how to open my veins and pour them out of me.

When you had your first sonogram the doctor wrote you a prescription for permanent eviction.

There looked as if there was something terribly wrong inside of my skull and maybe giving up on me would be the best way to go

My father stormed out in a rage and you followed him

to a doctor who told you that everything was going to be just fine.

And you called me your miracle baby, because after all we had been through, I was alive and healthy and isn’t that enough?

But what if you had taken the first doctor’s advice? What if you had torn me out of my warm chrysalis before Light could save me from the darkness of nonbeing?  

I cannot help but think that the circumstances surrounding one’s beginning will in some way reflect their end.

And, for some time, I could not help but resent you for making me live in a world where I felt unwanted

every night I’d wrap curled fingers around my own neck, just trying to check for a pulse.

my eyes always looked like black holes and I found myself wishing I could hide inside of them.

But now I feel that I am worthy of life

and now I can maintain conversation without choking on my tongue

and now when the birds sing I want to join in

and now all I can do is apologize for the demon that lives inside of me. She is resting now.

all I can do is thank you.

Every day I am breathing is a miracle.

It is enough.

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