When asked at Sunday Scribblings to write on the word “intense,” I knew exactly where I would go… to Riley.


For as much as her first movement within me
(like a flickering tub toy gone off in my stomach)
made me realize I was actually pregnant;

For as often as I ran to the bathroom
to relieve the heaves of morning sickness;

For as few times as her father bothered
to help me ride the subway to La Maze classes;

For as big as I got, flouting my expanding tummy
and allowing total strangers to lay hands on me,
connecting with her movements;

For as hard as it was getting stuck in a backwoods outhouse
only to be rescued by two Boy Scouts,
who undoubtedly had the best story around that night’s campfire;

For as bad as the lemon-lime Gatorade looked,
both going in and splashing out into the waiting bucket
until I agreed to the shot of Valium…

For all these things,
nothing could compare me for the intensity
of my love for my newborn child.
Even today, taller than I, she appears in my mind’s eye
a bundle of brown-eyed sweetness
wrapped in a blanket of promise and wonder.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil