Water Birth

By Angie Minkin


We dive into the sea, little swimmer,
casting our fate on the North Pacific gyre.
Oceans echo the tides in our hearts.
Your pulse vibrates with my pulse,
vibrates with your grandmother’s pulse.
We call the amas, strong Japanese women,
diving for pearls among mermaids,
their headscarves embroidered with lucky symbols.
We call on their strength.

The amas dive deep to loosen my legs.
Their breath, long-held, expands my heart.
Their sharp whistles summon dolphins,
the midwives of the sea.
The dolphins circle to catch you
and stretch your cord.
They lift you to the surface
for your first breath.
Their clicks and whistles soothe your cries,
as they dance in joyous flips
to announce your birth.

This is what I wish.
Instead, you are carved from me
in haste under bright lights.
Pounding heart. Streaming eyes. Knotted cord.
I reach through incubator portals to touch you,
Your tiny fins grasp my gloved fingers.
You gaze at me with dark dolphin eyes,
seashell mouth whistling softly
as you breathe through iridescent tubes.

Still, our pulses sing together to the amas.

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Angie Minkin - I raised my two kids in San Francisco, where I still happily live. The kids are grown now, but their births live in my heart. I am retired and practice yoga, dance, and write poetry - feeling grateful every day that I have a wonderful life.