…For Oona and Esme
by Mary K O'Melveny
My godchild has given birth to a baby
girl, as yet unnamed in the early hours
of her first breaths. Her own birth took well
more than a day. We celebrated her arrival
beside the stone fireplace in my living room
bearing poems and feathers, crystals and champagne.
We were all so young then, so filled
with moral certainties, our predictions for
our lives based on little more than nerve.
The new babe joins a sister, almost three.
I find it is impossible not to think of storks,
those legendary bearers of good tidings, luck,
who transport the newly hatched in their wide
beaks. Old legends say that babies will come
if sweet treats are left to rest on windowsills.
In Spain, nesting pairs of white storks fill up
rooftops. They soar and glide through the sky
like seasoned flamenco dancers, their calls
to mate reverberating like castanets.
Each year, these storks migrate from Spain
to Africa and back. In one day, they can
travel four hundred kilometers. They leave
behind sun-drenched Savannahs, sweep past
the Black Sea, the Bosporus Straits, sail
on warm winds until they reach a roost they
knew before. This is my wish for both great
goddaughters – to catch each updraft, to free-wheel
above sunset’s fireworks mirrored in wetlands,
to always trust there is a safe landing point.
* * * * *
Mary K O’Melveny, a retired labor rights lawyer, lives with her wife in Washington DC and Woodstock, NY. Mary, a Pushcart Prize nominee, is author of A Woman of a Certain Age and MERGING STAR HYPOTHESES (Finishing Line Press 2018, 2020) and co-author of the anthology An Apple In Her Hand (Codhill Press 2019).