I dream of you,
your bouncing curls and chestnut eyes,
your little girl laugh
that echoes off walls,
bounces around the Grand Canyon,
causes tsunamis off the coast of Japan,
and then skips back to heaven.
And I will myself not to wake,
wrapping arms around you,
breathing you in.
As if I could inhale your soul,
like my wanting could wish you
But when I wake
my arms are wrapped around my belly
and I’m breathing in salty tears
and I’m still empty.
They gave me Valium to calm me,
to make me forget my worries,
but still I remember.
It was cold,
the surgeon was humming along to classic rock
as she readied
sterile stainless steel tools,
preparing to dissect me.
She removed the broken parts that day,
but her scalpel slipped,
and she took a piece of my soul.
And when I woke,
I was empty.
Now, each month
half a hope is born,
a wandering homeless spirit
seeking a place to settle.
I name each one Grace and love her
for the few days I feel her in me searching
before she blinks out of existence.
For a year I cried each time I went to church,
watching babies bounced on hips,
I could smell their hair
from seven pews away.
The pastor said God can heal anything,
so I’d stand with hands on belly
praying forth a miracle.
Let me be Sarah,
or any other woman
who caused disbelief and scandal.
Let me be the 16-year-old
too scared to tell her daddy
about the boy who let her down.
Let me be the woman standing outside the clinic
with a choice to make.
Give me another mouth to feed,
and temper tantrums.
Give me bouncing curls and chestnut eyes,
and a little girl laugh.
But you can’t pray back a uterus.
So instead I pray,
“God give me the grace to accept
with serenity the things
that cannot be changed.”
I pray for acceptance,
I pray for Grace.
And I am still empty.