Thistle Birth

by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

Three weeks after her birth
I wrap my tiny daughter in a rainbow blanket
and wheel her to the forest.

There, I see poems in each clutch of wildflowers
in ragwort, convolvulus, buttercup,
thistle. In that sharp tall growth,

it is impossible not to see her birth
my belly that greygreen baubleblister,
a plump bud on narrow stem, where a girl emerges,

sudden as a crisp purple bloom.
I want so much
to return to those brutal days,

to meet myself stumbling down a dark
corridor at 3 am
towards her incubator.

I would grasp my hand
and whisper

you will walk together on forest paths
and this hospital will no longer be
visible, even in the distance.