Each week the technician presses the wand across my womb. I know better than to ask for interpretations, the half-heart still flickering, a bird’s wing caught in a trap. Cells multiply slowly, turn aside docile as winter leaves. I throw away my harp, no longer interested in what God knows. If I would just be more grateful, says the pastor’s wife, tears in her heaven-blue eyes, for what I have. Measured footsteps of doctors stalk the off-white halls. The fetal echo lights up red and blue where there should be nothing, but no one speaks to me, no longer a woman who has never had anything happen, who can rest her hands on herself, and expect nothing but goodness and mercy all the days of her life.
*Honorable mention: 2023 Valiant Scribe Poetry Competition.
Renee Emerson is the author of the poetry collections Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing 2014), Threshing Floor (Jacar Press 2016), and Church Ladies (Fernwood Press 2023). She is also the author of the chapbook The Commonplace Misfortunes of Everyday Plants (Belle Point Press), and the middle-grade novel Why Silas Miller Must Learn to Ride a Bike (Wintergoose Publishing 2022). She lives in the Midwest with her husband and children.