Photo by vasse nicolas,antoine
The babies made me invincible.
Even as they slept, they protected me.
Even as they slept, I could stomach the dark.
I could walk up the stairs, lights out,
and pass the mirror without hurrying.
I was divine, hovering inches above the floor
in a cloud sweet as milk—no rose perfume
like Therese. I glowed with love but also
with suffering. Even the suffering
I wore like a blue robe, beautiful enough
for a painting. I felt the sky guarding me.
When I wore the babies and under
the babies the blue robe of my suffering,
I was lit from within. I burned myself
for fuel, shoveling black stones into
the stove inside me. The milk boiled
and grew skin. It turned. Still I felt nothing
could harm me—nothing would dare.
I was essential. I was too needed
in the world. That feeling was a spell
that is only now beginning to break.

Photo “Butterfly shadow” by vasse nicolas,antoine; licensed under CC BY 2.0

Maggie Smith
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