Sestina of Seven Births by Tyler Chadwick

1. 27 November 2006, Morning
They’d said it would come,
with December just around the bend.
Still it caught me off guard. Outside
in pajama pants, t-shirt, bare feet, waiting
for the dog to make: the first flakes layered
cornered leaves with winter’s afterbirth.

2. 16 July 2003: Our First
The day Sidney was born,
her water came
on the bathroom floor. As I’d layered
a towel to soak the spill, my wife bent
over the head to catch any leaks, waiting
for labor to turn her insides

3. New Mother
Sitting beside
the ashen body of her stillborn
son, waiting
for the cry that never came,
she bent
her breath across his chest, warming the empty layers.

4. 12 February 2006, 2:23 AM: Our Second
Rising through layers
of sleep into wet sheets, she’d stood beside
our bed, questioned her continence while bending
lamp light across the spill. €œLooks like your birthday
present’s coming, €
I’d said as she winced at the onset of labor’s weight.

5. Sarah
As she wearied beneath the weight
time layered
on her womb, he came
to her. Inside
the tent, a moonbeam gave birth
to galaxies as her universe bent

to God’s touch.

6. On the Lake
Ripples bend
the water’s crimson weight,
distorting autumn’s birth
with each stroke layered
on stroke. Reaching over the canoe’s east side,
our nine month daughter watches her reflection go and come.

7. Solstice
Rereading €œThe Second Coming € on a winter night, birds bending
circles inside Yeats’ words as the tide spanning generations waits
to drown my own, I draw the poet’s layered veil and fall into Christ’s crimson birth.


Tyler Chadwick is a doctoral candidate in English & the Teaching of English at Idaho State University. He spends his time husbanding his wife, Jessica; fathering four little girls; teaching writing foundations online for Brigham Young University-Idaho; reading; writing; and researching contemporary American poetry. He’s also an avid runner. His poems have appeared in Metaphor, Dialogue, Irreantum, Salome, Black Rock & Sage, and The Victorian Violet Press Poetry Journal. In 2009, he received the Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize and in 2010 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Visit Tyler’s blog Chasing the Long White Cloud.   To see other poems he has published on WIZ, go here, here, here, here, here, here, and last, but not least, here.