Life, she thinks, is a series of events you never imagined would happen to you. A tire exploding on the way to a job interview. A cat dying from a simple tooth-cleaning. A decision to end a pregnancy in the twelfth week.
No internal conflict about whether she could raise a child alone, listening to Aimee Mann and nursing at two in the morning, her son’s fist pulsing against her breast. No moment of indecision since she saw that second blue line on the test strip, straight and reverent as a prayer. Only her palm against her belly, anything to keep the child inside. She shouldn’t have worried. That small bundle of cells stuck to the side of her uterus for most of a trimester, long after the baby stopped growing. A black hole widening in her womb, her life.
The doctor asks her to sign a form, permission to surgically remove products of conception. Her belly swells with fluid and air. How she starves. What other choice does she have?
Lost and Found
I collect baby clothes. Pink socks the size of my finger, yellow onesies swimming with ducks, eyelet hats that tie under the chin. They sleep tucked in my bedside table. The day of my first insemination I bought a purple outfit at the Baby Gap; I couldn’t stop touching the appliquéd flowers. I toyed with the snaps, imagining my small daughter kicking on the changing table. For three years I’ve been a woman who wants to have a child. Today I am a woman who is having a child, but still I can’t take the clothes out of the drawer.
A poet and nonfiction writer, Robin Silbergleid is the author of the chapbook Pas de Deux: Prose and Other Poems (Basilisk Press). Recent work appears in Hospital Drive, The Citron Review, The Prose-Poem Project and elsewhere. She teaches at Michigan State University, where she serves as faculty adviser to The Red Cedar Review.