sudden quietness …
held in the wells
of a newborn’s eyes
It was nearly midnight when I arrived at their place, having been driven from the airport by my son-in-law. Hana had, just that day, arrived home from hospital, four days after the caesarean delivery of their son. She hadn’t heard us arrive and we caught her on the toilet with the door open, naked apart from the dressing on her belly.
Nakedness was never an issue at our place when she was growing up but I hadn’t seen her naked since she was about ten and here she was, Woman, strong yet delicate, fertile yet depleted, exhausted yet with endurance. Her tummy was still swollen, her breasts had begun to fill and the nipples were red and a little puffy. She was exhausted and had the serene look of a face avoiding pain by trance. And she was pale, so pale that she may have been made of porcelain, fragile, fine and semi-translucent. She has a face like a sculpture anyway, but that night she looked like she could have been a goddess figurine, something timeless and primal.
She apologised limply for being naked, (though in Brisbane in December it would be sensible for everyone to be naked) and I shuffled my bags into the spare room. Then we went into the dark room and peered down at the tiny body of my grandson in nappy and singlet, sleeping as his sister and his mother did, on his back, with his hands beside his head.
petal by petal
of a baby’s hand