Parallel Universe

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—

Laid bare.

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