Birth at Sea
by Holly Knight

[Editor's Note: This poem originally appeared in Midwifery Today Issue 54: Waterbirth.]

In my dream, I run
all the way down the hillside
to the estuary where the kingfishers wheel
and dive and the sea lions swim
upriver with just their noses
above water and the children bump
sticks along the sand.

I jump in to feel the rush
of cold river current that sweeps
me out to sea where the waves roll
past haystacks and headlands,
where the surf scoters bob
on swells and the sea garden of kelp sways
gently shoreward.

A sea star plants its body on my belly, sends
its rays across the moon of transparent flesh
and Rosemary rises,
reaches toward that underneath place,
the Jacob's lantern,
where the light of the night sky hides
from the view of the casual observer.

Rosemary swims out into the salt bath
and we float together,
past the gray whale
whose spray baptizes us,
past the white pelican
whose call beckons us,
under the bright sun,
whose rays bless us.

Holly Knight has worked as a pesticide activist and environmental educator. Parenting her daughter, Rosemary, with her husband, Tom Williams, has been her most rewarding—and inspiring—job thus far.


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