She sees this baby    in her mind’s eye
black and white    photos of an infant
the boy next door    when she was a child
blond   fine-boned    sturdy    ever-present
side by side in darkness
they hold hands
sound asleep    she dreams    the wide ocean
flying beneath    as twin-engines stall
suddenly    in mid-air    the cabin
sucked clean of oxygen    a door flung
ope   n her lungs yawn    in slow motion
against the vacuum
blood seeps from
her womb    over the sheets    a flood-plain
contractions deepen    pain leaps to sear
a fine needle    penetrates    her spine
the anaesthetist    pledges to be there
when she wakes    she is wheeled into
theatre    has no memory    of labour
of suture    though the face above her
blurs and fades    continues to gaze
through the black
thick rims of his glasses
words drift singly from his lips    petals
in cotton-wool ether of the room
don’t    worry    now    love    slee