THE DRUMMER                               


When I told him,
the color left my husband’s face.
His mouth said, “Oh my God,”
but his eyes said “Holy shit.”

When I told him,
it got quiet.
All I could hear
was the tick, tick, tick
of 60 Minutes in the next room
and the sound
of my mixed emotions
hitting the dinner plate.

When I told him,
our toddler’s eyes
jumped back and forth
like at a tennis match
waiting for one of us
to tell her everything’s alright.

When I told him,
he said, “We’ll have to sell the house.”
and “You’re going to have to go back to work
because I can’t work any harder.”
and “This is going to change our whole life.”

He laced his fingers in prayer
pressed them to his forehead
then to his mouth and fell silent. 

He got up from his chair
and took me in his arms
and held me the way a husband
holds his wife after she tells him she’s
pregnant, and that he’s going
to be a father for a fourth time.
It’s a I’m-happy-scared-shitless,
sort of embrace.

It changed a couple weeks later
when he got up from the chair
to get a closer look
at the black screen
that made it real.
 A perfect sack
carrying the seed he planted
nestled like an egg
under a sparrow’s breast
with a heart pounding
like an ancient drum
too soft to hear
but so loud it vibrated the room.

The drummer
small as plum
but larger than
the sum of us.
He squeezed my hand
and looked through me
to the place
that only he’s been to
that place a husband
and wife share
that can only be felt
but never explained.

His eyes were slick with joy
and his grin filled his chiseled face.
And like a lion expanding his pride
he puffed his chest, 
tilted his head back
and roared… 
“We’re pregnant!”
“We’re pregnant!”
“Holy shit, we’re pregnant!”