Brendan Craig: ‘The Pregnant Father’

The Pregnant Father

You pushed your way
into my world
your black curls wet
and your skin didn’t fit—
pink unfolding
you pawed like an upturned turtle
slipped from its shell.

I clenched your mother’s fingers
as the light caught the blade
locked my knees
when the Rabbi prayed
and cut you from me.

I’ve pressed a ridge in my chin
at 2 am.
just gazing
as you sucked at the air
sucked at my gut
drew me in
world and dreams
sucked me in
through tiny holes
till I was you.

You’ve rocked me to sleep
while you searched
my shoulder for rest
I’ve pressed into you
weighed your head
in my palm
drifted through the calm currents
of our inner world
a womb of night-silence.

You scramble towards me
mouthwide hoots
runtumble as I enter the room
yapping da-da-da-da-dad
slap a hug round my neck
just as easy as chuck a block
then squeal as I chase you
trusting the coil between us
will snap back
and we will roll each other
in a ball.

A father may not speak
of being pregnant
its secrets seeded in sisterhood
but I know what it is to be full-bellied
to have the life of another growing in me
each turn and kick a tide of joy.

I may not call this pregnancy—
our language lacks a word.

Brendan Craig

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