Friday, February 27, 2015

A burn

I still have pink sunburn sleeves on my arms
starting where my T-shirt stopped
from being too long under California sun
with no protection.

I rode around on a bike – a “beach cruiser” –
and walked by the ocean, on sand flecked with gold, listening to meaningful music about you and me
and an unbreachable impasse.

The ocean – it commands our awe.
Can’t go any farther West, turn the wagons back around.
All we can do is stop and stare
and worship, and kneel.

A tumult in the water –
you were here and I was there
you were there and I was here
one of us had washed ashore and one of us was out to sea.

(I am floating in darkness with jellyfish
stars up above and sharks in my midst
part of the primordial ebb and flow
back to the moving clay from whence we came.)

The ocean. The sun. The burn on my arm.
The radiation that altered my cellular structure.
You are part of me, to my deepest core.
My life began with you.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


It’s a rainy Monday like any other.
I go into my work building and fold up my umbrella.
The front-lobby security people are talking
about a baby who was born small.
“How much did she weigh?” asks the security woman.
“Six pounds,” answers the security man.
“Six pounds is normal for a baby,” says the woman,
emphasis on the word “normal,”
wanting to be reassuring.
The mirrored elevator doors close on me
and I think of my would-have-been-baby
who died at five weeks inside me
at the size of a sesame seed.
“Don’t you listen to them,” I think.
“Don’t you fucking listen to them.”

Trying to have another baby feels like a betrayal.

On a shelf in my home are mementos:
a locket from my mom, with the words “Love Never Dies;”
a necklace with an angel-wing charm and a “birthstone”
(this has to be in quotation marks, because there was no birth);
other trinkets.
On the shelf just above it:
things I use to try to make a new baby –
ovulation-test kits, basal-temperature thermometers,
pre-natal vitamins.
A Kermit the Frog who sings
why are there so many songs about rainbows,
because a “rainbow baby” is one that you have after a miscarriage,
something nice after a dark storm.
That second shelf is like a slap in the face to my would-have-been-baby.
I have stopped wearing the necklace.
I feel like a traitor for this, but it made me too sad.

When I knew I was pregnant, I was so happy.
I sang in the shower, and in the steam on the glass wall
I drew a heart.
For a long time, after I found out I had lost it,
I could still see that heart.
Then we had a houseguest, and he must have wiped it away.
So I drew a new one last night, a symbol of hope, or of betrayal.
When I got out of the shower I saw
that the old heart was still there, inside the new one.
The old one had been there all along.
The new heart was big. It could encompass it all.