I hear my daughter crying every time I run the water — in the shower, the sink faucet, the squeaking pipes. My uterus contracts and I rush to her, where someone who has been watching her insists that she is fine, she is sleeping, she hasn’t made a sound. I lie in the floor under her bassinet and pray for sleep, pray that she will stay alive while I sleep. My daughter is one week old today, the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. I have not slept in seven nights. I cannot miss one moment in the world now that she exists. I cannot take my eyes off of her. Soft as kittens fur. That such a being could have emerged from my agony, I cannot even fathom it, even though I lived it, screamed it out of my own lungs. I can’t do it, I said. I have to stop, I said. I will break in half. I broke myself in half, they cut me. You are doing so great, said everyone with their flashlights in the dark, and I shook my head no, I was not, and I broke myself in half and still I could not bring her. You’re going to have a time-change baby, said the midwife, or the doula, or the nurse. She was on the threshold when the time changed and everything repeated, another hour splitting open. She arrived on her first hour, a time-traveller, a creature beyond time. She may have been born twice. There was so much blood, whispered her father to his mother. And instantly, I loved everyone who loved her. I loved her, I could not stop staring, could not put her down onto the light. So they brought the light to me, to wrap around her in my arms, they let me take the light home with me. And the second she arrived the house finally became a home, she filled every hollow corner, and there was love. There was blood, and pain, and forgiveness, and mercy, and the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen, the one I watched with my family, bundled up in the breeze, at the edge of the mountain. I had to put everything in its place again and again, because I did not want her to see it wrong. There were screaming lambs. I am calling about the light they gave me for my daughter, I said to the stranger on the phone. My daughter. I do not want to sleep. I want to remake the world for her, in her image.
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