When Zachary smiles, I sometimes forget
that hours after delivery, they told us
not to get our hopes up, that he likely
wouldn't live through the night. His fingers
curled into oxygen-deprived fists
shouted the truth of his condition
over the screech of hospital machines.
But despite the warning and ignoring
how slim the chance, we spent hours
unfolding his hands, imagining hope
tucked into his palms like a teddy bear's
tail. Only the doctors thought they'd failed.
For them, the truth was written in MRI images;
for us, in steady breath and gurgled coos.
When Zachary smiles, I sometimes remember
that days before his conception, we decided
not to have another child, had scheduled
the surgery to eliminate the chance. He chose
disobedience before he was born. That rebellion
served him well then, and again when burst womb
threatened to smother both mother and child.
Despite our plan for precaution and ignoring
professional opinion, this child chose to live
and thrive in a world that didn't think
he could survive the catastrophe of birth.
And these nine years later, he teaches
me again and again to seek the unseen,
to find hope clutched in closed hands.