Count Up

The first thing he doesn’t do is remember to start shooting.

A nurse picks up the camera and assumes the photographer’s mantle.

He’s too busied in the watching of bloody action to think

about Director of Photography duty, angles of shots, all that stuff.

The head crowns, the birth canal filled with his flesh made visible,

and he remembers he rented the bells-and-whistles camera.

This is the real deal, cinematographic premium quality deluxe.

To say a pretty penny this one is, he looks back behind him,

notes the attentive nurse rolling film in parental absentia.

In that moment, a slow-mo turnback to focus on the miracle at hand,

the baby cries, and he has missed the head-to-toe evacuation.

Thank goodness, he thinks, for the — good night, nurse.

What was her part in the process if she had nothing to do but run the camera?

All hands on deck just in case, his questioning guess,

and he sees the baby swaddled, watches him enveloped in a mother’s arms.

She looks exhausted; he thinks he may be, too.

But not at all like that; he can’t imagine the agony.

He looks behind again; the nurse continues to capture the event.

Stepping to the bed, he touches the baby’s tiny hand with an index finger,

admires the little fingers, counts them and exhales, relieved,

can hardly wait until he will be able to examine the tiny feet,

make sure there are also ten toes exactly.

It is, he believes, that much closer to perfection,

guessing ahead, sounding every bit the child of the father.

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