poems that know

I schedule out my posts–all of my posts for September and October were written before we lost our son Shepherd in late September. I didn’t consciously know that he had passed away in the womb, since there were no signs, but looking back over these posts, it is strange to see what I was writing about at the time. So the following post was written a few weeks before he passed–I’ve decided to leave it as is.

Rereading Keeping Me Still (my first book–written in 2014), I am struck by home many poems are about losing a child.

I lost Kit in 2019, but this poem more fully encompasses the experience of being in a high risk maternal fetal medicine fetal echo than the run-of-the-mill OB checkup:


They ground and drank the bones of kings
in Nineveh. Swollen, I too learn we and submerge
an ocean, capsule, holy vessel.

Brimming, divided heartbeats like misplaced commas
sectioning the lace of my insides.
Moths, despite the darkness,
batting wings against the pane.

In the examination room,
the whitecoats and glasses press
the stethoscope, cold to my belly, and hear nothing.

I make a cat’s cradle with the loose ends
of this and do not ask, and do not ask,
until I watch the heart blink back
yes, yes.

There are more poems like that in the book, and in my next book too. B says its my subconscious picking up on things that I don’t fully register with my conscious mind, but I think I was just writing about my deepest fears, one of which being losing a child, which happened to, later on, happen.

Maybe I was writing about Kit before she was even here.

2 responses to “poems that know”

  1. I often wonder about this, too. Do you remember my poem “Illiterate,” about a girl who can’t read and write? It’s about her inability to communicate and how that affects different parts of her life. I’ve re-visited that poem a lot over the past eight years.


    1. I do remember that! It is so strange..I had posted a bunch of these baby loss poems before I had any idea…unless my subconscious knew? but I WROTE these poems years and years ago. So it is weird.



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