What rough beast…slouches towards Bethlehem, waiting to be born? – W.B. Yeats, from The Second Coming
There is a piece of writing sitting inside me now, fermenting and growing.
I am pregnant with it – it fills me, making it difficult to walk sometimes; it makes my bones ache and has affected my body chemistry.
It wakes me in the dead of the night, pressing against my side like a spear or a set of unseen fingers.
It wants to come out, it says, kicking against my diaphragm with no small level of impatience. Why are you keeping me in here, in this dark and fetid underworld?
My stomach is often in knots, thanks to its incessant yammering and its proclivity to loose bile from its being into my system. Sometimes, I feel as if I get flashes of what it will look like – like an ultrasound scan, some of these daily poems give fitful glimpses of what is to be. Sometimes, there is too much movement to make out its morphology clearly, and other times, when the camera is poised just right, there is almost a view of its future state.
Figuring out whether it is to be a poem, a song, a symphony, a novel, a play, a musical; and trying to do it in advance, so as to prepare for the accessorizing that will be required, seems very much like deciding beforehand, in advance of any real knowledge of their gifts and inclinations, what career an unborn child will be geared towards in its first years of schooling.
Truly, all that I can do at this point is paint the nursery, swab down the walls in some neutral color that will not offend, limit or otherwise predispose the young thing once it has been finally birthed. For now, I can but traipse around the edges.
You may ask, when is it due?
To which all I can truthfully answer is this: I do not know; but it feels as if the pressure is building. It is about to drop into position for delivery. I fear the labor pangs already, with a mixture of dread and anticipation. It will occupy my thoughts until it is safely in its cradle.