Daddy Sings of Mother

For Deborah on Mother's Day by Greg Powell

I walked the overnight crying baby shifts
Changed diapers wipes baby shit and vomit
Off ruined shirts never to be worn again
Carried the babies, little heads bouncing off chest
In journeys through city adventures
Stuck bottles of pumped breast milk in puckering lips
So often that Jon at thirteen says mom I mean dad

And even the college boy yearns for my drummer arms
To encircle his stretched horizons with familiar grip
And connection flesh to flesh from new birth to now
I can only imagine the mother: her grace of creation
Cosmic kinship with universe: mother of us
Who shed blood and screams in birthing room
Cut by doctor spraying piss and blood

Ugly beauty birth horror redeemed by newborn cries
Now almost men; the connection flesh to flesh unsevered
By discarded placenta and umbilical tendril
So tender her prayers speak in their veins
Sinew of arms reaching legs leaping
In defiance of the ground
Connection I now know transgresses death
Her love for them is grinding through granite
To make ways for them in anti them world

Oh mother, daughter of the universe
And her image and likeness
Arm them to guard hearts from hate toxins
Bash holes through prison ceilings of the imagination
Launch souls on butterfly wings to sail storm winds
And be beautiful as you, Mother
Whose lioness jaws bare daggers in their defense
Whose 21-year labor pushed them to new birth
Of dreams and destiny and survival and redemption
Of labor screams and piss and blood placenta sacrifice
And shared baby shit and vomit and ruined clothes but
Satisfied souls shining Jah Love through hands laid on heads
And wisdom spoken and fussed and injected through prayers into veins

And I stand in awe of you, Mother
As I am of the Mother of us