First Meeting

First Meeting
by Stephen Schwei

Alison, they cleaned you up, washed away the blood, afterbirth, and who knows what else, dried you off, and swaddled you in the softest cotton. Hospitals provide for babies. Mom was resting, recovering, or being cleaned herself. I got to sit with you in a tiny private room with the lights dimmed low for the evening. I rocked, while your solid black eyes stared into mine, making sense of whatever blurry shape you perceived. Each breath exhaled tranquility. Each metronome of the chair sank us deeper into understanding the moment. I wondered if any plans for you made sense anymore or how I could help you acquire the world. I’m surprised I ever let the moment end.


‘First Meeting’ received first place in our 2024 Spring Short Competition.

Stephen Schwei is a Pushcart-nominated Houston poet with Wisconsin roots, published in Wax Poetry & Art, RFD Magazine,, Hidden Constellation, Borfski Press, and Table//Feast and is the winner of the 2023 Kenan Ince Memorial Prize in Poetry. He has published one volume of poetry, Bluebonnet Whispers. A gay man with three grown children and four wonderful grandchildren, who worked in Information Technology most of his life, he can be a mass of contradictions. Poetry helps to sort all of this out. @steveschwei

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