The older I get the more I reflect 
upon birth, that first catastrophic, 
miraculous move we make on our own. 
The squinty-eyed, bright ascent 
into light, up into the world 
of risk and fall. Being held, hearing, 
coming to terms with fingers and toes, 
and, God bless us all, the incessant 
release of our mortal debris.

Early intimations of distance and quiet. 
Then handled and handed from one to another, 
their strange breaths over and into the face: 
smells acrid, sweet, often too close. 
Large faces leaning, they titter and speak 
in ur-utterances, ur-talk, all meaning well.

All this, approximate, imagined, detailed, 
limned by the preposterous angle of age: 
That first stage of knowing, 
our first steps onstage.