the black mouth empty
and quivering, and where there should be that shape,
that almost leggy, round-eyed jump, there is only space.
The doctor purses his lips, as he pursed them at the foot of my birth bed
where he delivered my first son. He was tired then, three in the morning
bleary Christmas Eve. Now, he stands at the foot of this table and delivers
as kindly as he can: “This looks very early” and “there is no heartbeat.”
His eyes are smeared with sympathy as his hands and the cold instrument
probe me. Once those hands issued out my son, rich with birth blood
and cries. Now they search my womb, an open sarcophagus. Not death;
this is an un-being: life tentative as seed that doesn’t take root.
I think of my son, wanting pictures of the “tiny baby” and hope
he will forget, that we will rip out this idea as stitches in a project started
but abandoned, a mouth that opened to speak but aborted its idea.
The screen stays black and true, the doctor apologetic. My body:
exposed as fraud, made promises it can’t or won’t deliver.
The probe retracts; the doctor and I, bereft of purpose.
Time has lost its shape. There is nothing to hand over.