I am Not a Fetus
by Richard K. Olsen

Medical waste,
of no account
to be discarded
life’s flotsam and jetsam
a ganglion of cells.

Had I taken a breath
made a whimper
had a beating heart
or moved a limb
I would have counted.

Never mind that I have a name
that I heard my parents sing
that I am the sum total
of their genes
their child.

I didn’t suffer
I went to sleep
a sleep from which
I shall nevermore awaken

I hear them call to me
in the stillness of the night
when they do not sleep
why, why, why
they plead.

I am not a fetus
I am a baby


I’m Not Over it Yet
by Richard K. Olsen

I never will reach
that place
where pain is not permitted
where memories fade
where light suffuses.

Why would I want to
surrender memories
that define me
happy ones
sad ones

If I lost an arm
would you ask me
if I were over it
would you be surprised
to learn there are times
I reach out to scratch it.

Why then am I not
to remember what is gone
what once was a part of me.

My child is still
and I am sad
The future is not
what once was
Everything has changed
But I am constant.



Author Biography
Richard K. Olsen is the founder and Executive Director of The National Stillbirth Society (www.stillnomore.org). He formed it after he and his wife Sharon lost their only child Camille to stillbirth at full term on August 17, 2000. Its purpose is to “educate and agitate” for stillbirth research and reform. Olsen can be contacted at stillnomore@cox.net. ©2002

Editor's note: Check out this information about the legislative changes happening thru the work at NSS!

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