Widow Mother by Lucia May
I was sure there had been a crime and coverup.
I was nine months pregnant
standing in a hospital corridor,
but not to have the baby.
A doctor told me that my husband was dead.
I thought to bargain with God
but I had an ultrasound photo
and she, kicking in my ribs,
had a name.
A nurse said, “When you’re thrown
in the water you have no
choice but to swim.”
To me at 23, it sounded profound
even without music and lighting
but I still smelled him on my hands.
I bought a pack of cigarettes,
went home, and waited
ten days for labor.
I pretended that her birth
would trump him
while I traced his lips and ears on her.
He stayed, not having the modesty to leave
us alone as she bit my engorged breast.
The shower steamed and pounded
to let down her milk,
a spray of hot tears
mixing with new blood.
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