poem by Lise Kunkel

You can imagine--they are undone.
It's sad, profoundly sad,
having gone on this length of time in rescue mode,
up and down, agonizing, once
again hoping --
only to agonize again.

It took all this time for anyone to name the loss,
to bring the thing into a different perspective.
And maybe no one person said it firmly,
not the physician, not the midwife,
not the man and woman--
though certainly they must have felt it.

And spoken it
at odd moments
to themselves
and sometimes
out loud to each other.

Nobody disagreed
when the man said, We can't do this anymore.
Not the physician, not the midwife--
not even the woman
carrying this heart-strong,
growing fetus in her flawed sac.

And certainly none of us, out here,
outside the womb
of dopplers and scans and fluid measurement,
counting the hours between phone calls and waiting --
as though it were our own bellies
rising and flattening to the raw kick of life.



Lise Kunkel, 45, is a mother, wife, registered nurse & volunteer coordinator for Compassionate Care in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. She has been reading and writing poetry off and on for 30 years.

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