George Korolog: “Our Adoption”

Winning Writers subscriber George Korolog kindly shares with us a poem from his new collection, Collapsing Outside the Box, which was recently released by Aldrich Press. It was inspired by George’s oldest son, now a college student, who joined their family through open adoption. This poem rings true for me as a depiction of the joy and mystery of meeting your child for the first time, and the complex emotions that arise in a family formed by loss as well as gain.

Our Adoption

It never occurred to me that a strange new
smell would electrify your supple nose hairs,
singe your newborn heart, brand your reptilian
brain with images of smoldering panic that would
mark the watershed of life in your first few seconds.
It never occurred to me that sliding into new being,
slipping from the swathing sac, slapping air in severance
from everything in which your senses had settled were
the questions, Who am I? Why are you here? It never
occurred to me that after nine months of reckoning
her hovering heartbeat to fractions of a second, that
you were already seeding tomorrow with querulous
roots, tendrils that would twist inward upon themselves,
mistakenly embedding the future with layers of suspicion
and doubt even as we yelled, over and over, “I love you.
I love you.” It never occurred to me that you were
beginning to spin the web of one great tear, muddle and
mesh, the blame and longing that awaited us, love dangling,
the snare quivering with the promise of welcoming.

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