When I was pregnant with you, I avoided
microwaves, Xerox machines, hairspray,
even honey. It wasn’t safe to feed to infants,
why take a chance? And when you were born,
I put bumpers in the crib
to protect your tiny crown of straggly curls.
Three decades later,
cushions in the crib, warning
they can suffocate, even strangle.
Not intuitive at all
for the young mother I was
anxious to remove
all chance of bumps or bruises.
And just another example
of how powerless I am,
sitting in a sterile room
beside a narrow bed with rails
watching tubes and machines
drip chemicals into your veins.
Jacqueline Jules is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, coming in April from Finishing Line Press, and Stronger Than Cleopatra, coming in June from ELJ publications. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications including Inkwell, Soundings Review, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Imitation Fruit, Calyx, Connecticut River Review, and Pirene’s Fountain. She is also the author of two dozen books for young readers including the Zapato Power series, No English, Sarah Laughs, and Never Say a Mean Word Again. Visit her online at www.jacquelinejules.com.