This is an oldie, but a conversation with a friend recalled it, so: revision, and now sharing.

 

Flicker

 

Once a week for three weeks
my friends’ babies died within them.

Pulsing energy lost in silence.
Searching on a screen poised over a belly,
one, two, three.
Still.
My friends’ hearts beating faster, faster,
then
slower,
stopping in agony and in empathy
with their little beloveds.
Shared blood, shared stillness.
Ringing ears giving way to
equal silence.

i remember a woman in a small dark room
(she always comes back with urgency,
reminding me that i’ve forgotten)
with a screen poised over me
as she chatters, chatters, and then
silent.
Turning the screen to me-
breaking the rules-
she points,
pantomimes:
her hand presses her chest twice
then away
touches twice
then away-
thump/thump
thump/thump
my/child
bright/spark
alive.
Then: turned away and chattering again.
i stare at the flutter on the screen but
i want to watch her-
this rogue stranger-
risking her security for my peace.
i don’t remember her name.

i hold my boy to me when he cries,
our hearts facing,
rhythms different.
His doesn’t stop, mine often does.

i watch him when he sleeps,
so silent and still that
fear declares
‘He has slipped away. You did not escape.’
i do not breathe,
i press my hand to his chest-
in/out in/out
He is here, yet.

i know he is a rare creature,
millions like him are born all the time,
millions of rare creatures
that kept pulsing
when their equals did not.

Every time a little heart stops inside a woman,
peace is lost for every woman who knows.
There is no security with a child inside.
Wild need of it makes us
break rules,
scrabble,
go rogue-
grip it when we can, give it as often.

i hold my boy to me when i cry
for friends who lost,
friends who were lost,
for peace lost.

Beat/on.

Hold/fast.

Live/full.

Burn, spark.