My day is measured out in hours.
We move slowly through the house, she and I, in a quietly endless cycle of eating and changing and staring all around with unblinking blue eyes that slowly sink back into sleep.
She was born in the early morning hours, like her sister. Only they laid her red and squirming on my chest and she squinted up her eyes against the light but didn’t cry, just briefly when they suctioned out her mouth.
They laid her on my chest and I cried instead, cried for the joy of her and the memory of the one who had lain so silently on the palm of my hand, and I wanted to tell him — This time is better.
This time is how it should be.
They handed her to me in a cloth and left us in the half-light of the room, said to call when we were ready and they would take her. But who is every ready when the taking is forever? And we sat for half an hour and he cursed because it was so wrong and I should have kissed her. And then we handed her back, went back to our empty apartment and tried to learn how to live again.
She was born two weeks ago, today. And holding sandpaper eyelids open at 3 a.m. I watch her perfect skin, the way her tiny hand floats up to cling to my robe, the tiny foot kicking out in the cool air, and I think it again: this time is better. This is how it should be.
This time, we get to keep her.
He reads to her in the evenings, when she’s fussing and I’m oh-so-tired, and she watches his face and never blinks. She watches the light outside the window and sleeps with both fists up framing her face, so relaxed, and I sometimes hold her straight through to the next time she wakes because who can put her down?
Our world is small, now, and words slip away into the quiet.
But this is how it should be.