As Long As I Can

by Jessica Popeski


We knew there was a problem.
The ultrasound technician
sitting Doberman alert,
face un-twitching,
but like a moorhen, masking
frantic paddling underneath.
Erratic, cacophonic
notes ornament her exhale.
She stands, smoothes her
accordion crimped skirt,
back in a moment.
My husband’s fingers
foxtrot on my thigh,
an anxious, slapdash
shuffle-hop-step.
Curtains scream shut,
her perfect, powdered face
now darkly pocked and porous.
He’s drowning,
the amniotic pool we drew
in my bathtub belly is poisoned,
his alveoli buds not
bursting into blossoms
on bronchiole branches.
I will carry him full term,
let him steep,
swat and kick his fists and feet,
high five his star-palms pushing
through my stretching skin.
I will keep him,
suspended,
snug and swimming
inside me,
for as long as I can.

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