For Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day by Gloria D. Gonsalves
Grieving, they say, is the cousin
of loneliness, bonded through
closeness or distant blood.
You left my body the same way.
Slipped away silently, as far kin
of my clan, and yet closer for I
still, feel the knives cutting through
the womb where I had you alive.
Our conversation was one-sided,
but I knew you were listening.
We already had names for you,
representing us, from two cultures.
We manifested you as a girl.
I had begun recalling wisdom
to share with you, our child.
When pain slowed my right leg,
I held hope that we would meet.
That night on my birthday,
I prayed, asking the virgin mother
to take you was the holiest prayer
I have ever offered to the ascended.
The pain was too much to bear
and faith guided me to let you go.
You held on tight, determined to
stay, but the boat carrying you
was sinking to the death realm.
I helped, perhaps more myself than you,
by drinking chamomile tea.
The tea drowsed, and pain floated
like a red amaryllis flower.
My beloved unborn, forgive me
as my waters failed to keep you safe.
It was a long night of life
until I dragged myself to your gravesite;
a bowl of waste and other discharges.
I heard you leave with a ‘plop’ sound,
from waters of life to the waters
of the dead and unwanted remnants.
I still wonder whether you finally rested
in heavenly waters, or you were minced
in the sewer, like a thing, not human.
I keep your existence in this world,
but a mother is not one without proof.
When in the forest, I still hear you
swimming and murmuring in the streams
and that gives me a sea of comfort;
you are still in this life, only parallel to
that which my boat sails saddened.