I live in a world where
news of a new baby is greeted
not with congratulations but
a tremble and a quick prayer.
Where a pregnant belly in a crowd is noticed
with a swell of anxiety in the throat,
an averted gaze,
hiding the Evil Eye.
In every group of children gathered I look for the missing ones.
The one lost, perhaps, between siblings just a few extra years apart.
I search the mothers’ faces for signs,
the scars of miscarriage, infertility, stillbirth, loss.
The ground we walk is brittle and thin.
We tread gently,
yearning for babies,
afraid to hope.
Flesh and muscle
the hearts that pump our raw, fragile lives—
All the skeletons visible, everyone an x-ray,
Stark black and white, empty cavities.
Everywhere are accidents.
Every new life a potential death.
© Burning Eye