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I Smile at the Bruises

A poem

Published on:
July 17, 2017
Read time:
1 min.
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I smile at the bruises
up and down my legs
dull brown and tender.

You came from inside of me
they lifted you up, out, above
until your face rose above the curtain
and I saw the softness of your cheeks
the person of you.

They removed your body from mine
your legs white, feet turned inward
wanting
casts, braces, surgeries.
They stitched me back together
my heart and body pressed and pulled
wanting
to see your face
to keep you inside me forever
both.

At nine days old, eight pounds of new life
my body still reeling
still healing
they wrapped your legs in plaster
hip to toe.
I lost track of the sets of casts
of the drives to the hospital
of the certainty of anything.

You used to have a metal bar
stretching between your feet
like a snowboard
or a skateboard
but without the joy of the wind in your hair
the rush of adrenaline
the illusion of invincibility.

I would lie with you
seeking your comfort
and the bar would crash against my skin
on my arms
my waist
my ear once.

Now, the bar is gone.
The braces remain
forever, they say.

You love to be close so
we cuddle
we snuggle
we read books piled as high
as our bodies
yours on mine
You are two years old
so you wiggle
and flail
and kick,
the plastic round your legs
meeting my shins
my calves
my thighs.

And days later
when I am dressing
I notice the bruises and smile
because you came from me
and if I cannot keep you safe
inside me
at least my body
can bear some bruises
too.

Abby Perry
Abby Perry has written for The Gospel Coalition, Christ and Pop Culture, and Upwrite Magazine. She is a co-host of the Shalom in the City podcast with Osheta Moore and coordinates communications for a non-profit organization. Abby co-facilitates community efforts in racial reconciliation and in support of foster and adoptive families. She currently attends Dallas Theological Seminary and lives with her husband and their two sons in Texas. Find Abby at her website and on Twitter @abbyjperry.

Cover image by Ben Hartley.

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