One baby died inside me but it wasn’t really a baby.
Blood came out of me at odd times. I didn’t tell Dominic.
We had an idea that we didn’t mean to have and just as it
slipped into focus it collapsed.
I would have called him Cato if he was a boy.
I would eat better.
If I could I would swallow a whole maternity ward of doctors and nurses
and an E.R. floor full of staff and equipment.
I would swallow great gallons of music to help him float and then I would swallow my fear and my pride and swallow anything the doctors who I swallowed might prescribe.
And if she seemed bored I would swallow thirteen short books a day to keep her entertained.
And I’d let him decide what else we wanted to eat.
If I were an unborn baby I might be able to whisper and I might be able to make petals spell out mysterious words like CONCRETE and TURBULENCE. I might be able to make a person yank the steering wheel of their car as they come to a blind corner so that they just miss the cyclist who has been pushed out of his lane by the wind. Or maybe I could push a cyclist, like the wind, testing my might, not thinking of the car that could
be coming and cause a collision that yanks upon the strings of the heart I could have had.
If I were an unborn baby I would choose the power to never have been anything, not an inkling in a mind, not a tiny droplet of ink lingering on a page, fanning out at the edges gently like a wave. If I were an unborn baby I would not be one at all.
I wrote out a list of everyone I knew who had died but it seemed dramatic and perverse so I folded it up very small and hid it underneath my socks.
Today, tipping out my sock drawer to throw out the pairs that leak heels and toes, I find my list and opening it discover a perfect crease scored through every single name as though they have been crossed out.