Home Birth

Noelle Armstrong

Last night I watched The Unassisted Home Birth of Felix Alexander Pt. 2. I
was most struck by the moment when the baby’s gray face emerged. Her
partner was wiping her ass right above Felix’s gray little face. Frightening
proximity of shit. Sent this to Ana Cecilia and she said: dear god. As in
dear god—deliver me from this? It makes sense now, the whole saga of

Locating desire: pulsating long purple thick ropy pink flesh tones. There
there, in the secret mucus of the womb. We cannot standardize, we
cannot stop writing about bodies, obsessing about food, opening our eyes
in the morning and through yellow crust groaning nnnnnoooo. Skip today,
turn everyone into a wax figure, divide time. He pours me a glass of water
with a flourish and says what do I know? Sad, blue, folded up (umbrella). 
Everyone in my ocular field is a flower.

A segment about the women of ISIS tying towels around their children
(diapers) and boiling grass (food). Some things are unfathomable until
you’re inside. Unfathomable even then, the smell of burning toast,
gasoline, hair under a blowdryer. Kiss, snip, shove, burst. Will you let me
start all over?

Moony gloom. Saturn return and a sweater soaked in dishwater. Smells
like tunes. Medicine or ruses, look at how beautiful. Slit, a slit of light under
the doorway. Sit for yourself in the company of riptides. Father screaming
oh my my, I was once a surfer and an abalone diver. Just remember, this
will all be over soon. Rosacea bloom and a cliffside shack without
nighttime lights. We had to feel our way down the stairs in the dark, hands
grabbing at roots and sometimes softer, unknown things. Friends are
everywhere. Don’t think about how many eggs you consume in a week,
that’s gross! Think about fish swimming home. Think about dams removed,
skin molting, fresh interior flowing back home. Homey, peppery, sumac
berries: I am lucky. Doorstep suggestions, take or leave them, take or
leave me. I’m molting. Flow, flowers, floating above her ears, it is not her


Noelle Armstrong is a poet in Los Angeles. She wants to hold your baby.