The little body, washed;
cleaned; swaddled;
from broken hand
to broken hand
to crib—

I write in sadness as authentication,
but this act is not sacred.

What is sacred: the little body
of finite breath

independent from me,
frantic on its own rhythm.

I listen as

to confirm the child is not dead,
not dead now,
not now,
not no,

the moment I share
as witnessing static breath,
an infinity of withheld wait,

an oscillation,

oh little body,
you curate the air
and I worship your sound,

what is the difference between a nose pressed against the glass
and my broken hand passing you to another broken hand,

the transfer,
you little technician

converting my hands into what my father’s were—
rotting cathedrals in the rain,
you the stained glass


Shane Neilson is a poet, physician, and critic from New Brunswick. He published You May Not Take the Sad and Angry Consolations with Goose Lane Editions in 2022.