POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION                     

I had another baby 5 months ago
a big healthy boy.
I’m tired and tormented.
I should be filled with hope
not horror.
I should be dreaming of his future
not his death.
But I do.  I see him dead
everywhere.
Floating facedown in our pool,
frozen like chicken in the freezer, 
and burning like a log in the fireplace.
I stay clear of staircases, balconies and
the drawer where the knives are kept.
I’m haunted with flashes of horror
when I’m awake and
heart-stopping nightmares
when I sleep
which isn’t often.
The panic attacks hit me hard when it gets dark
because I know where I’m going
the same place I go every night.
When everyone else goes to bed,
I go to hell. 

I saw myself put a pillow over my baby’s face.
I shot out of my sleep and saw him cuddled next to me
his fists, tight as walnuts, raised above his head
his little body, still as water, zipped snug in his jammies. 
I placed my hand on his chest and felt the rise of his breath
and moved in closer to taste his exhale.
I fell back into my pillow and wept
as my husband slept
the way husbands do.
 
Yesterday my 3 year old daughter announced, 
“Mommy, I don’t want a baby brother anymore.”
“Really…what should we do with him?” I asked.
Without hesitation she replied, “Let’s throw him in the trash.”
I’ve seen him there too–blue with the umbilical cord still attached.

His newborn eyes flutter open and land on me.
My son starts my day with a full body smile.
It starts in the blue pools of his eyes,
moves to the pink grin of his gums,
whack of his arms, slap of his legs
back to his eyes
sparkling with trust
a brief glade of light
in the forest of my torture.  

©LISA BECKER