The inchworm, and a call for writers

There’s a small incision made with deadliest precision
That lets a darkness seep into my heart
But I don’t need sureness or crave some faulty pureness
I only want a warning when it starts
I am not heroic and I cannot muster stoic
But in my life I want a leading part

I didn't think my time at Glow would end this way.

Which begs the question: how did I think it would end? A warm, fuzzy graduation. A neat seal. The conviction that I’m going to be okay. Either that or this: I break into the grief bank and gallop into the sunset on a white horse, robber of the robber, saddlebags fat with a golden life reclaimed.

I’m an inchworm walking, measuring and stopping
The journey seemed much simpler at the start
If I measure every step I never ever guess
That every single step is all the same
And misery forgets there was every happiness
And happiness treats misery about the same

This might have once been offensive, that nature dares to carry on. Green, living things all hungry and horny and full of wick push up through the earth to taunt me with boundless regeneration.

Now, I look down and breathe in pungent brown and all it means is that it's time to take the snow tires off. Time to dig out the lifejackets and buy a new rake and fix that broken flip flop and get some sun on my legs because I'll blind you in a skirt.

That's all.

If I took the road not taken I was probably mistaken
I’ve had a lovers’ quarrel with the world
If I try to make my bed in a great instead
Will my dreams be always only in my head?

I can't be here anymore. I can't even face my own dead baby, let alone everyone else's.

You're terrible. What, do you not even care anymore? You hardly ever think of him.

I do. But it's like walking into an empty warehouse. There's only dust and empty forklift palettes and stacks of corrugated cardboard and me standing there, wondering what the hell happened.

You're abandoning him all over again.

I don't know what to do with myself in that space. And so I don't tend to stick around. I think I need to put myself into other kinds of spaces and trust that he'll find me there if he needs me.

You're abandoning him all over again.

I heard you the first time. You are my inner heckler. I hear everything you say.

A mother does not turn away from her child.

She might if she feels a tiny, loving hand give a nudge.

(inner heckler pauses)


Every new bud might have once earned a fuck you, spring. I felt dragged, kicking and screaming, away from things that are brittle and finished.

Now, I look down at good clean dirt and new growth and breathe in. That's not to say the freshness of it doesn't sting. It does, still, sometimes. But I breathe it in anyway.

On every crowded highway every silent byway
Every victory soaked in salty tears
If I stay a springtime green
It’s through a thousand dirty falls
I weep to see the wonder of it all

Old Man Luedecke, Inchworm

Last week was the second (third? fourth?) time that my time to post at Glow in the Woods completely blew by. Not because my life is any busier than anyone else's. It's just that Liam is suddenly just... so... wholly gone. I feel completely disconnected. I haven't got anything more to say—at least not on a regular basis—but it's not neat, not at all. It's confused and riddled with guilt. And this wordlessness means that Glow represents an emotional weight. Which is another layer of guilt. But there it is.

Guilty about reaching a fitful end. Guilty for not being in a constant state of reverence for Liam. Guilty for not feeling capable of dredging the depths of a thoroughly-scraped bottom. Guilty that I no longer wear depths on my face like the lights of the Vegas strip.

I don't know what I'll do about all that guilt. Probably the same thing I do with all that new earth. Just breathe it in, notice that it's there, see it as some kind of necessary newness. And I'll still be here to steer things along—to be the squarespace goon, to source images, to intervene with rubber chickens when needed. Which is hardly ever. But still.

This is sweetsalty kate, founder, signing off. I join the emeritus. Almost two years to the day after launching this site with the lovely Bon, I entrust it to my beloved friends and fellow writers, and to all of you. I gallop away. Or, really, more like a canter. And not so far away. Just over there.

open call: glow needs new writers

Glow is in need of two new writers, if not more. We'd like to hear from you. Submit your writing for consideration for the roster of Glow's regular contributors by May 1st, 2010.

We're looking for strong writers that prompt others to consider universal themes. We don't just want to hear about death -- although death is a big part of all our stories. We want to hear about life. Your womanhood, your manhood, your stance. Identity and work and hopes and rebuilding and medical hoops and love and luck and how your world view has changed and keeps changing.

We've done our best to provide a diverse selection of writing across the spectrum of loss -- including stillbirth, premature birth, the NICU, and neonatal loss after birth among others. This goal of balance will factor into the voices we choose to come on board on a regular basis.

Have questions about the open call? Comment on this post, or send us an private email here. We'd love to hear from you.

UPDATE, May 13, 2010: Submissions have now closed. Thank you all so much for your generosity of spirit and support, to all the people who stepped up and offered to lend their voices to this gathering place. We're busy getting to know a wonderfully diverse group of writers, and we'll be in touch as soon as we can with next steps. Thank you everyone!



Author, photographer, founder of Glow. Mother of three boys, one of whom died at six weeks old nine years ago. Nine years ago, I was someone else. Love and sorcery and poetry and terrible luck and wonderful luck.