In Response to Baby Girl Asking Me If It Hurts to Give Birth

I did not mention the stitches.
The dry reptile skin stretched so
far it split down the middle.
The epidural I begged for
its needle an elephant tusk
lodged in my spine
that I couldn’t sit still.
How they numbed me three
times, and still missed at first
that I wished myself a ghost
a soft flimsy sheet incapable
of rending itself in two.
My Granny’s mama died
in a delivery room
and I don’t tell baby girl
that either. I don’t explain the mutiny
of our bodies, that I imagine giving birth
is rebellion
where we dare to die and live
at the same time, except now, people
are actually watching
the bones a riot, the flesh weeping
and gnashing its teeth. I tell her it hurt,
as some things do.
She doesn’t flinch.