This poem, which you can find under the poetry tab at the top of the page, began where all great poems begin: Wikipedia. Sara and I had spent the morning, as we usually do, talking about anything that pops into our heads. This particular morning, she referenced folic acid deficiencies in passing. Later that day, I had a few free minutes and decided to look into its specific effects.
Some lines of what later became “Parokhet” came from this research. The lines were:
and we die of rot
and we burn”
They were cut in the second draft because they are awful. However, they led to more interesting places, specifically the section about our in utero heroine.
I couldn't think of a way to start the poem, though. It seemed a bit abrupt to start in media res with the scene about the child, God, and Devil. There had to be a decent beginning, a frame for the trinity.
As the opening lines implies, it started with the sky. Thunder tore me from sleep and I lay awake while a storm wrapped around Sara's small house. It was dark, the profound dark that comes when electricity leaves. It was then, while a storm cried its first, angry breaths, that I realized what the poem was really about.
Sidenote: If you are interested in some of the references in the poem, a good place to start is “The Book of Nightmares” by Galway Kinnell, specifically the poem “Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight”. You can find it online here.