in all its intricacy —
with its loops and channels;
its constant relaying of information;
its complex knowledge of all our mechanics,
its well designed, microcosmic boxes
where twiddly bits fit —
has not yet figured a way
to assess and segregate
abject terror from happy surprise.
My heart’s palpitating, my fingers are shaking
sharp claws in my gut are gesticulating.
Electric shocks are making me twitch;
my body is saying my brain is a bitch.
I should be dancing or lustily singing,
but my skin is itching, my ears are ringing.
I should be enjoying a thrilling day,
but all of my energy’s slunk away.
Nevertheless I will share my good news –
my daughter’s recovering, my son is too.
I am as happy as I can be
that my lost babies have come back to me.
believing me to be in danger
has given me a toxic dose of adrenaline,
to help me to fight or to flee.
In helpless panic, I lurch
between these two inapt acts,
unable to break away.
©Jane Paterson Basil