Sunday, February 1, 2015

Weight


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.

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