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.