Love Poem to My Ex-Husband Who is About to Become a Father

Love Poem to My Ex-Husband Who is About to Become a Father

Do not excite about the newfangled spangles of your daughter 
without recalling your participation 
in the decimation of ours. 

You walked many paces 
ahead of my panicky lungs 
zestful in glory that you could outpace me 
away from your cells 
multiplying into something ours 
for a short verse. 

How zesty will your spirits flare 
to change a diaper wiping fetid feces 
from the smears of breast milk runoff 
in aftermath of digestion in witching hours? 

You will be bewitched— 

for who does not become bewitched 
the moment they see toes 
which wiggle in their same pattern? 
The dark and unshelled almond eyes
skin of olives and tanned wood
unlike the pinkish dyes 
of my own blood.

But when you meet this one

won’t the one you left 
live in your look into her eyes? 

How can she not? 

She is some of this new one,
some of your open field 
where ramparts are tattered
wreckage sitting long enough 
clovers and dandelions 
emerge from bonfire ashes
of old photographs strewn

and plates smashed and scattered 
no longer have sharp edges

details remembered less 
as you collect whole moments 

of coos and oohs and aahs 
with new life, sounds unfamiliar 
and familiar tunes.

I admire your baby coming here soon.

Is it strange I am ready to meet her? 

Shared tangles of root system 
historically bound underground, she feels 
somewhat mine. She isn’t. 

I imagine I’ll ask to hold her

nothing to tear down between people 
when a baby is passed between arms
sleeping sweat of summer skin 
heat of a creature whose blood and pulse 
are new to trees and the chirping of birdsongs.

She will hear in years of your lore
of your wife from when you were young, 
and I hope you will tell her things you have learned. 

            Ours hooked in but for a pause 
            to wave hello 
            as a last chance for two people to survive 
            outweighed by newness and the resting 
            of an old and mythologized tale. Your new one, 

            she has latched, too, 
            just into somebody else’s form
            and ready for this world. I think 
            she may be happy. She is 
            not mine. That 
            makes me happy. 

                                  My friend, 
                                  no one would have been happy 
                                  had I made the choice to keep those ropes 
                                  tied to the sinking boats of each other.

Emily Hyland’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Apple Valley Review, armarolla, Belle Ombre, Belletrist Magazine, The Brooklyn Review, Mount Hope Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, Sixfold, and Palette Poetry. A restaurateur and English professor from New York City, she received her MFA in poetry and her MA in English education from Brooklyn College. Her cookbook, Emily: The Cookbook, was published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, in 2018. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and studies writing with Mirabai Starr. Emily is the cofounder of the national restaurant groups Pizza Loves Emily and Emmy Squared Pizza.

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