21 November 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 4
Advice to the Expectant Father
Say the pelvis is untested, you're rookies,
the cervix ripening when the mucus plug
unglues. Beware a false labor. (All work,
no pay.) They will measure descent by plus
or minus from the zero station. Inform
your provider. Let inhale volume equal
exhale volume. They will roll her
through the hallways that summon life
and death. They will cleave her into two
from which you will choose one to monitor.
Pack popsicle, lollipop and ice chip.
She has grown a new organ for this.
The baby will gum out slimed in vernix.
His back may be quilted with lanugo.
You will learn to swaddle, shush and wipe
the first meconium, like sticky candy,
buoyed by colostrum. You will wheel
your kin in plastic bassinet, dazed
along the laminated floor. Do not carry.
Do not drop. Preserve the furry fontanelles,
the skull's lacunae. You will return
each night to the admitting hall to see
where you began. But you can't
go back there. You can't get in.
About the author:
Stephen Neal Weiss is the former editor of the Yale Literary Magazine and is the co-author, with his wife Casey Kait, of Digital Hustlers: Living Large and Falling Hard in Silicon Alley (HarperCollins, 2001). His nonfiction writing has appeared in Gourmet, BlackBook, and NYMag.com.