on the day you were born



I went skiing

On the day that Pippa’s baby was born. The morning was cool and warm, clean and light, dusty and ordinary. Things progressed gently and normally, without fuss, on the day that Pippa’s baby was born.

I waited for the bus and followed the students into the rental store. Open-mouthed girls joked about loose limbed teenage boys. The sky was blue, the runs were good, things were very nice on the day that Pippa’s baby was born.

And, in quiet moments, I said silent prayers to the only God I still know, for tiny hands, tiny feet, tiny perfect limbs, little lungs, a world so soft and perfect that it is all soft snow, a light morning, sitting beside someone you love, seeing the sky a light light blue.

I prayed for all the imperfect things – the pain, the loss, the disappointment, the boredom and the breaking – that might occur in an ordinary life, to be that little bit less imperfect.


I went to work on the day that Pippa’s other baby was born.

I ran late and then remembered that some time ago I had been the kind of person who went skiing and also prayed, even though the genuflect made my knees feel ill at ease and my heart felt illegitimate to the act. But still, in 2007 I lip-synched rag and bone tunes for a dollar or two.

While on that day in some other place, some other devils in red dresses raised black smoke to say they had not picked a Pope though they had picked a name for you, the father’s joy, the mother’s bliss.

The NT News reported that they’d soon start burying you feet first, as some are born. I don’t usually read the NT News, but on that day I did.

In and out. I breathed in and out. I meditated on your life and, selfishly my life, and wished still that there would be more kindness and less imperfection and that everything that could not be halted, all the intractable unknowable things, that they would be happily yours, lightly lived.


By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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