by Jesse Breite

On the day the baby 
my sister texts
she’s been in a wreck
My wife begins labor 
My sister pushes her body 
out of the sunroof 
her ankle shattered
her expectations useless 
after what occurs 
My wife would break 
my hand to help me 
The wheel
turned in My daughter’s 
head faces down 
Her lungs give up a scream
My father drives full fathom 
five hundred miles 
to help his baby who cries 
for painkillers 
my own still
just to know she’s alive 
Time circles with arms 
like knives I feel the reeling
of love’s convictions—
this newborn 
this iron foot
I drag behind 

Jesse Breite’s recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Chattahoochee Review, Tar River Poetry, Fourteen Hills, and Rhino. His chapbook is The Knife Collector (FutureCycle, 2013). He is also librettist for Atlanta composer Michael Kurth’s choral scores. Jesse teaches high school in Asheville, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife and two kids. More at