Noticing my anxiety about your impending, overdue arrival,
Your daddy once wrote me
“I wish you peace and stillness of heart.”
Two days later,
Your heart was still
And there was no peace.
I picture you
As the sturdy newborn I held
And as the toddler you would be.
I see your rosebud lips, your daddy’s eyes,
Coming home from the hospital
With all of our innocence intact.
I see soft curls and a shy grin,
Finger paint on the kitchen table,
Grass stains and fireflies.
I see you nestled in my lap,
Cozied up in the familiar crooks of my legs.
You are giving a stuffed toy your full attention,
And I am giving you mine.
I view you as perfection,
Although that image is not quite fair
To others but mostly to you.
You are more than a beige, agreeable, angelic child.
You may have been a firecracker
Or have hated the tea parties I picture you hosting.
Whatever you were, are, and would become,
I love that person.
You have a sister now.
Her eyes are bright blue.
You share toys, baby gear, DNA, a bedroom.
She uses your hand-me-downs,
Less worn than we expected.
When she reached the equivalent weeks
As you were when you were born,
I delicately placed her on your blankets
And photographed her
At the only age you two have had in common.
And she is the only person who has lived
Inside the same home you did:
What is your bodily connection to your lost child(ren)? Do you think about shared cells, blood, space? Despite loss and our fixation on bodily betrayal as mothers, where does your mind go when you reflect on the body as a commonly-held and known home shared by you and all your children?