“To think, your births wound up predicting
how you would both be in life: You, Lokis,
slipped out without my even noticing.
Papi had to tell me you were born already
or else I would have kept pushing
until I was inside-out — like a pant pocket.
And that’s exactly how you’ve been
your whole life: silent, untroubled, fluid.
That’s not to say I don’t notice you—
because of course I do. I pray for you every
night: that you’ll be safe, choose the right
paths in life, be normal and happy. But
at the same time, I know if I died today
you, at least, would live on fine without me.
Rikis, however, was hell—hell—the whole
way out. The entire pregnancy was
nine months of torture. Halfway into
the second trimester I was bedridden
with crippling pains down my spine.
The curtains had to be drawn in my room
because the tiniest light felt like flames
dancing cumbia on my eyeballs.
The Doctor removed all salt from my diet.
My water broke with her while I was riding
in the car with Papi. I thought I had
peed myself, only it was more painful
then anything I'd ever felt before.
My water broke with you at lunch time,
and you were out in time for siesta.
With Rikis, I was doubled over, immovable,
right before dinner, and stuck like that
the whole night: unable to sleep, to eat,
to breathe, it seemed, waiting for a birth
that didn’t happen until the next day.
The medications they gave were useless.
I felt her every kick, squirm, and toss.
She fought to stay inside me as if
her life depended on it. When they grabbed
her by the feet and tore her out, the pain
was so intense I thought I’d see my organs
strung out like charms on a bracelet
if only I dared look down at the cord.
To think, I’m only realizing this now:
God was warning me about your futures.”