Three Mornings

I. The first morning

My daughter was born at 2am and we took her home at dawn. She was so tiny as to be almost invisible in the faded car seat. Before we left, my husband dressed her with laborious care. First he tried to defer to the midwife, but she demurred: ‘You can do it.’ And so he manipulated our daughter’s tiny form – fragile arm through gaping sleeve, wrinkled leg to voluminous footed pyjama – until she was encased in soft second-hand cotton, dressed for the first time. 

From the taxi home, all I could see was the gold in the June trees. Leaves were still supple on the branches. As I limped up the stairs, when we set down the car seat, she scarcely made a sound. My husband and I could have been alone, though we were not. 

Our days then on were new. 

II. The unnamed morning (April 24th)

It is too late to name today, because it’s already passed. But were I to name the time I next woke and call it something other than ‘this morning’, then, to be truthful, I imagine that the day would carry a name that was usual, and that it would grow up to be a person generally automatic in how she or he moved through the world. Isn’t that how we navigate time? Days are lived through as casually as seconds: frittered away, rarely cherished. The lockdown may have woken me up in my own life – solving my insomnia for some weeks, making hours melt to nothing – but a dailiness has returned to life already on this, the 41st day of lockdown.

III. This morning (April 25th)

I woke in darkness, at half-past three. When I flicked on the light switch, the lamp made the room a muffled gold. The mug still held last night’s ‘Night Time’ tea and I drank it cold. The wool rug was scratchy underfoot. I picked up Humphries’ Ovid. The poem I had been writing had one gap left to fill. Encircled? Enfolded? Enfluttered? Enlaureled? Ensorcelled? – The archaic began to feel possible. Online, I typed in phrases in quotation marks to gauge how outré they were. When I went back to bed, around half-past five, the day was blue behind the curtains. 

When I woke again, it was morning. 

Occasional clouds interrupt the blue sky and shift the light in this room. My cup of earl grey has cooled beside me. I seldom check news early but now I do so: bleach, Sage, ‘Öffnungsdiskussionsorgien’. Another morning.

Lucinda Tesseme is an artist and writer.