Gestation – A Poem by Mary Ford Neal

IceFloe Press


After the third trimester, sickness fades;
kicking diminishes. Needing to breathe
again, in airless panic I stretch out
in bed, coaxing my organs back to life:
pleading with lungs to wake and plant a bloom
in each cheek; promising ribs it won’t be long.

But hasn’t it already been too long,
and still no sign of when it might be out?
More than a year I’ve watered, fed, and breathed
for this offspring, burgeoning as I fade,
expanding as I tend it into life,
greying my letters out, blanching my bloom.

What drudgery to bring a thing to bloom!
I do begin to wonder, as I long
for air, if this could be, not a new life,
but an old master plan to catch me out,
to dim my mind and set my looks to fade,
and finally, to trick away my breath.

I notice that it pains me…

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