Lost and Found

Poem to a baby born premature.

By Peterson-DeGroff

She gazes down
through the plastic box,
unable to comprehend his
tiny body.
The monitor wires,
IV lines and
feeding tubes tangled over
the gently rising chest
expanding and contracting
in mechanical rhythm,
his mouth taped open--a gaping, silent cry
that freezes cold
her heart.

She is lost.
Sinking into the madness
of her grief, her guilt,
an apology
forever on her lips.

She lifts, so slowly, the door
to his high-tech womb,
her own aching,
for its emptiness.
His hands flutter and feet twitch,
she cannot interpret his
fetal dance,
a foreign language spoken
too soon.

She longs to touch him,
to erase this space between them-
her hand trembling,
settling down on this other-worldly
her palm enveloping his entire

She feels
fragile skin like soft tissue paper,
his back arches up, he squirms
at her touch,
and at the sound of her whispered voice
his eyelids slowly draw up,
dark eyes drawing her into
this mystery.

She is lost now in love,
and is forever found.
Too much ecstasy,
too much desire to sweep him
up into her arms
and she chokes on
the grief and the love,
surrendering to the joy that he lives, he lives,
her sunflower, her son!

Maren Peterson DeGroff lives in Albuquerque NM with her husband Dave and son Gabriel. She works as a child and family advocate.