'Blink'


Is that a mucus plug? I am scared but my pelvis aches and my husband’s shoes don’t fit anymore. Pineapple juice. Raspberry leaf tea. At last, bloody show.  We cram the hospital bag neglected until now. There is no money for a taxi. “I shower, you ATM.” Something is wrong with my phone it has only been an hour but the app says my contractions are a minute apart. The Kumamoto earthquake rattled our apartment turning stone to cork bobbing on splashing concrete. Now my uterus shudders and my bowels churn. I hope I don’t shit myself in labour. Thank god for Japanese toilets. Toto colonic. Water helps. Cool shower pounds my skin. Pop. Silky juice warms my legs. Second pop. She is coming. Not yet little one, Daddy isn’t back. My hands clutch the plastic shell of the deep soak tub where I lay and feared being a mother. Mouth moans unfamiliar sounds. Little body full of life presses hard on the wrong exit. Door slams, “Taxi is here.” Daddy, we need an ambulance. I touch the skull between my legs, “Please don’t leave me.” Forehead bursts my skin. Not yet little one. She retreats. Sirens scream. “Don’t leave me.” But someone must answer the door. Curious forehead again. Please, just a little longer. No. It is time. The cord may be a noose. It is time. Daddy isn’t here. It is time. Many feet scurry outside but their racket dims. I squat. Don’t let her head hit the shower floor. She slithers warm in my palm then slips onto her back. A soul peers at me. Blinks. My daughter.