Four

photo-5

I remember you every day.

Every day.

You were only here for an instant in my life. And yet you were a cataclysm. Just in the way I cannot imagine what you would have been like had you lived, I cannot imagine what I would be like if you’d lived.

The mother I have become, because of you.

The children who live, because of you.

The God who remains distant, because of you.

*             *             *

Tomorrow will be my last post at Glow in the Woods. It has been four years now since my baby boy died and was born, three and a half writing at Glow. Since E’s birth seven months ago, I’ve know this year would be my last at Glow, that Joseph’s fourth stillbirthday would be my last post.

The first months of grief, I couldn’t understand how any of the writers could leave. How I could stop writing about Joseph. How grief could change. How I could learn to live with my firstborn’s absence. But I have lived into all of those once inconceivable things. And I know that leaving Glow is not abandoning the memory of my son. It is just simply time for whatever is next.

© Burning Eye

 

i think i know you

There is a woman at the park we recognize. Work? City Arts? Our mutual friends introduce us. We swap names. She works at the university. She of course recognizes A., who is thin and blonde with distinct features. She barely looks at me.

I glance at her son.

I think we were in prenatal yoga together.

I follow M. around the playground, help her up the ladder. I glance at her son. 3 and a half years old.

Yes, we were in prenatal yoga together when I was pregnant with…

I ask our mutual friends how old her son is. Quietly. Apart.

He was born in January 2013.

Yes.

I do not look again at her son. At how big he is, how old. How he is climbing on top of the tunnel, listening to his parents’ conversation with three-year-old understanding. I do not look back at his dark hair.

Yes, we were in prenatal yoga together when I was pregnant with Joseph, I do not say to her. He was my first, I do not explain at her bewildered glance at my two daughters, assessing their ages.

He died.

Today is not a brave day.

 

© Burning Eye

i dreamed of houses

I have a poem up at Glow today about the recurring dreams I had when I was pregnant with Joseph. I used to believe something about dreams. If not that they could be prophetic, then that they pointed us toward something. We could learn something from them.

Now, I’m not so sure.

I don’t really want to believe that they tell us anything at all about waking life. Because, in this pregnancy I have dreamed again of houses. It scares me. I don’t want it to mean anything about this baby’s fate.

And still, there is that dream my father had a few nights before Joseph died, the night before we drove up to visit them. In his dream, Death came.

How can I not believe in that?

one more hour

I held a little baby the other day. A boy, born at 37 weeks, now a week old. He was so tiny. Everything in miniature—eyelids, pointy nose, mouth open in sleep. A little over five pounds, his mother said.

I held this little baby and was so sad, thinking of you. I stared at his face, the only part of him visible in his swaddling. Just like you. I thought of holding you—three weeks younger, 1 ½ pounds lighter. I wished his eyes were your eyes, his nose your nose. I wished I could stroke your cheeks and run my thumb across your lips.

I have been consumed with thoughts of you lately. It is May, after all. The month you were conceived. Three years ago this time, you were just a little seed. An enormous hope. We were so happy.

I say to your mommy tonight, “I’ve been missing Joseph a lot.” And she says, “Me, too. Yesterday was—” Yes, I know. Yesterday was the 27th. 29 months you have been gone. So much time stacked against your short 35 weeks in our lives.

I hold your sister a little closer. Hug her a little tighter. I miss her more when I go to work, and after she goes to sleep at night.

If only I had one more hour with you, I would hold you closer, and hug you tighter. I wouldn’t be so afraid.

 

© Burning Eye

heavy, hollow

Most of the time, I do not think of you in specifics. I do not actively grieve or miss you. You are just there–not there–in the world around me. Your candle on the dining table. Your altar in our bedroom. Your portrait on M’s bureau. Your existence–that you do not exist–is infused into my waking and sleeping, in my veins, pumped eighty times a minute through my heart.

But sometimes, your absence hits me like a punch in the gut, and I feel you, heavy and hollow beneath my ribs, my ghost belly. I want to curve around you protectively and weep and weep for all that we have lost.