17 January 2011


On what might have been your tenth birthday
I hear you plead beg whine
Can I please get my ears pierced please?
you promise swear
I’ll clean them twice a day with a q-tip dipped in alcohol
Reluctantly I drive you to the mall
your soft earlobes are marked with a purple dot: the target
you squeeze my hand
you squeeze your blue eyes tight
under the fluorescent glare
The gun fires once, then again
Your ears redden at the violation
by gold studs with tiny pearls
your birthstone

Later I imagine
we suck milkshakes and
you hold the cool cup to the throbbing heat in your lobes
and I smile faintly at the woman you might have become

A decade
and still the memory of my womb aches
with sorrow and something like shame
I remember
that I wore khaki slacks, a green shirt,
and it was December
the hum of fluorescent lights
reflections on the grainy ultrasound screen
when I learned my body betrayed us
became a tomb for you
my heart pierced
intrauterine fetal demise
the inadequate explanation with an apologetic squeeze
But still I miss you
and yes, oh yes, sweetheart,
I know how old you are


  1. Is it strange that I think of you guys every December and how hard that must have been? Until your previous post, I never thought about how it might still be hard. Thanks for sharing these pieces of yourself with us through your writing. It's beautiful.

  2. That beautiful poem will haunt me for a long time. Connective tissue to my own past. An inexplicable need to relive and revive those feelings of utter helplessness that I thought I overcame so many years ago. The familiar dull ache returns, until the busy-ness of life intercedes and brings respite to a broken heart.