I walked the labyrinth.
Past the red hot pokers, a spreading tree that dropped drifts
of yellow flowers around my feet,
red geraniums in white pots, fists of dark pink rose quartz.
I walked and carried my mother with me; I walked and walked,
carrying a burden that I’d carried for months – years –
since I first fell pregnant and the doctor I went to for confirmation of joy
instead seemed angry that I was young.
Around the labyrinth I walked that burden, that lack of joy,
the fearfulness that gripped me as my belly bulged and my baby grew,
and that no one seemed to understand enough to assuage,
neither the midwife nor the GP, nor the antenatal nurse.
Talking and not talking to myself, telling myself a story,
I picked up a stone and walked it round with me
until I could leave it behind. Giving back, bringing in, leaving behind.
I left my burden behind in the labyrinth, where it couldn't follow me home.
Not knowing the path but seeing it would bring me back to where I had started,
I resolved, as I looped around, to attend to myself finally,
to make my hopes possible, not to put them aside.
I looked at the sky, the yellow tree and the bricks in their
concentric rings, and I rejoiced and pitied myself that I had not
found my way here before, because my desires were so hidden from myself.
My daughter and my husband were waiting.
I came out of the labyrinth. I saw the plane tree’s winged seeds,
the biting ants, a little dry spray of peppercorns.