The First Time I Didn’t Cry

sometimes is like ice
drenching your bowels
with a paralyzing grip.
How well I remember
tho’ the years have softened the blow
a bit. 
A bit but not all
for I remember sitting beneath the Stork Phone
where happy fathers
call to spread the joy.
Not I.
For I sat with fear
and tears.
Passersby must have thought the tears
were of joy. 
A new father’s joy.
For they hadn’t heard the words
“If she makes it for 48 hours,
there is a 50:50 chance.”

It was a day that seemed to never end.
But it did
and eased on to more.
as she held on
and fought with every ounce.
With every breath.

They wouldn’t let her go home
for weeks and weeks.
I came every morning
and every afternoon.
To reach through hole in the side
of the clear plastic incubator.
I stroked her arm
and touched her cheek.
And watched her panting little breaths.

It was past a month
before the odds were good.
Weeks of mornings
of fear.
Weeks of scrubbing my hands,
putting on the gown
and trying to see through eyes
that were always blurred.
Watching her grow stronger
and, once, with her tiny little fingers
she grabbed my finger
and held on
with a tenacity
that had carried her to this day.

One morning
I came and it was such a momentous
occasion, I had to write
about the big event that day.

It began
“Today I came to see you
and it was the first time I didn’t cry.”

Michael Mathews
August 23, 2014
08:37 AM