She found herself unable to relax
Her nerves while resting her cold hand upon
Her belly – vessel for the fruited seed.
With child she felt as though she lived two lives,
The one she saw through narrowed eyes her own,
And one whose eyes watch over all the Earth.

A cool night in a desert winter came,
And brought with it a visitation of
The most unnerving kind, a vision of
Inevitable bloody agony.

She raised herself to sit and find the cause
Of that which had prevented deeper sleep.
The foot of her once solitary bed
Was being sat upon by a small child.

His eyes were still, and all-encompassing.
By meeting those that were his mother’s, he
Could feel the utter terror in her heart.
“I mean no harm, and bring no ill to you.”

The infant spoke with the authority
That usually came only from men who
Bore sceptres or a gilded crown – and yet,
She felt that these would suit this child quite well.

“Why is it that you sit upon my bed,
What brought you forth while in my womb you grow?
Are you a spirit come to haunt my dreams,
Or some illusion of my sleepless mind?”

“I am exactly he for whom you wait.”
The phantom babe then raised his hands towards
His nervous mother – “Look at what they’ll do
To me, my sinful brothers whom I love.”

His tiny hands were wet with blood, a sight
That brought his mother into weeping wails.
“What evil could commit such acts, and maim
The utmost innocence that you possess?”

The baby gave an answer to her pain:
“The violence that I’ll bear is nothing more
Than that which I accept as all my own.
The purpose of my birth is wilful death.”

His bearer was disturbed, but something in
Her knew that this was truth. She knew that he,
Her child, was to be born to die for all the world
For every living man and every wife.

Such knowledge could however not prevent
The piercing swords she felt assault her heart.
She wept with different tears, she wept with the
Acceptance of a cruel impending fate.

“I say that you should weep well now, so that
When it is time for my demise, you will
Survive that awful temporary grief.”

Her unborn heir suggested this to her.

“My grief will live forever once my son
Is harmed and slain, how could it leave my life?”

To this he gave a curious reply:
“In death there will be life, I will return.”

At this, the ghostly child dissolved in air,
Becoming nothing but the wind which blew
His spirit all throughout the room – and now
His mother had no choice but to return
To sleep, with knowledge given to her by
The child that kicked against her belly’s wall.
She saw the imprint of that foot, it looked
Exactly like the one she had just seen,
Resting on her bed.

— Konstantin Kanelleas is a Greek-Australian poet, his first book is Hyponeirisms. You can find him on twitter here @OrthoKon.