Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Poem: Waiting for the Results of a Pregnancy Test

Waiting for the Results of a Pregnancy Test

At 41, 1 am uncertain of more things
than I could have imagined twenty years ago.

Your existence or non-existence
hovers over me today. The voices
of the world my friends the liberated
women who are close to me cry abort abort abort in unison.

Yet the voice inside me shouts

shows my selfishness in its mirror
my soul's dark intent.

This newt, this merging of tiny cells
makes an explosion like comets colliding in my ordered universe.

I want to say: I'm too old, too tired,
too caught up in trying wings so long unused,
but that voice will not be silent. It beats
in my bones, cries to be allowed to live.

I did not know the child's voice would haunt
my days and nights with its primitive insistence.

Little life, floating in your boat of cells,
I will carry you under my heart though the arithmetic is against us both.

Today I bypass the baby departments,
the thousand reminders that come to me now. the young women wheeling strollers through
Bradlees, the girl in the maternity shirt

which proclaims: "I'm not lonely anymore."
1 want to scream, we are all born lonely,
and the child beating under our hearts
does not change that. I want to lie down
on the ugly pebbled floor of Bradlees and kick
my feet and pound my fists and make this intruder
in my life vanish.

As I stand at the checkout line, I see our years
unroll: the bottles
midnight feedings
tinker toys
baseball games
PTA meetings
are boulders in my path, a mountain
of boulders I will have to climb
for you. I walk into the Spring sunlight
while my life snaps closed around me and my fear.

My friends are all my age, their children in
high school
as mine are. I will be alone with you.
You will be born with a scowl on your face,
your hands shaking, having taken from the marrow
of my bones my own quaking.

We will rock together in this leaky boat and you
will grow into my belly like a tree.
I will love you,
I know, it is only in these first
moments, while I alter the picture of my life
I had painted with such sure strokes, only in these
moments that I wish wish you were not there.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan - Copyright 1981

Maria's Official Site is at and her books are available at Her latest publication is the poetry collection,  Ancestors' Song

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