You had been pushing a wheelbarrow of sand
and cement for me to start pointing the bricks
of the bedroom extension where you were
to deliver our child, when you said you felt
as if you'd been carrying a bag of gravel
in your belly and now it was about to split.
I helped you into the house and rang the doctor
who came, and then growing impatient for
our delivery, went for a walk. While he was gone,
I held your hand as you squeezed out our son
like mortar from the icing-bag. He clung to you,
a footing for life. His mouth lapped onto
your guttering spout of milk, then he fell asleep
on the job and I cooked you a builder's breakfast.
Owen Gallagher is the author of four poetry collections (you can find them here); the most recent being Clydebuilt, published by Smokestack books in 2019. The Sikh Snowman, a children’s picture book, was published by Culture Matters in 2020 and his poem "Straight Up" was a Guardian poem of the week.