We were camping in a tent for the weekend
that early summer I heard your faint cry,
after the test said positive, and your father
cursed and growled and grabbed a beer.
I didn’t want to nurture another mistake
and prayed for one more stab at planned joy.
You would have said I was too young
and impatient like my mother. You would have
found me sharp against your soft parts,
unable to hear what you had not words
to say. Your father would have told you,
Don’t read, said you couldn’t go to college.
That Sunday afternoon when I felt the ache
and then the warm rush, alone in the bathroom,
far from the tent, I washed. And washed my face.
If I am ever grieving for you and the other
unborn, let the trees take me up in their arms
and drop me back to solid ground.
has worked as a medical microbiologist and psychotherapist, and has taught workshops nationally with a focus on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), and her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, The MacGuffin, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia.
Author’s website: www.joanmazza.com
⚡ I’m not the one, third of five poems by Mazza in Poethead (12 July 2020)
⚡ Season of No, reprinted at Verse Virtual (March 2021)
⚡ Two Poems, “Delusions du Jour” and “What’s Real,” in Misfit Magazine (Issue 31, Fall 2020)