Lincoln's Birthday

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BolusOfDoom
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Lincoln's Birthday

Post by BolusOfDoom »

Lincoln's Birthday,
February 13, 2006

For months I spied my unborn son; I pressed
a probe to catch his pulse and squinted at
a TV screen. At Lincoln's eighteen-week
fetal exam, too soon, the doctor eyed
a shrouded foot outside his mother's womb.
On a Maternal ER birthing bed,
his mother's water broke. "Just stroke her hair"
the nurses said, "and look away." The wits
I had, the nurses lent, so I obeyed.
I watched and swept tears from his mother's wet
and twisting face, but on my right, and out
of focus, I saw blood on pinkish skin.
Our firstborn son slipped out, too young. He died.

I've since cradled two other sons, but they're
no cure for this regret: During the small
moment that Lincoln lived, before they clamped
his cord and all went numb, I stayed away;
but if he spent his final, futile breaths
feeling a doctor's cold, latex embrace—
God damn! I should've reached to where he died
between those steel stirrups, and laid a hand
that said, "We love you Lincoln, go in peace."
What now to touch? The sky-blue newborn clothes
he'll never fit? Prints inked by little feet?
Too late. He'll never be that close again.

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Bmat
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Re: Lincoln's Birthday

Post by Bmat »

The poem is painful. The reader grieves with the writer.

I feel the sense of wishing that the father had done differently. The frustration.

BolusOfDoom
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Re: Lincoln's Birthday

Post by BolusOfDoom »

Thanks. It seems like 99% of other miscarriage poems are pink and puffy, Mommy misses you, but Jesus took you to heaven kinds of things. There's definitely a place for that, but I wanted to write something more masculine and secular to whet the loss, not blunt it.

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Asp Zelazny
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Re: Lincoln's Birthday

Post by Asp Zelazny »

You certainly did an excellent job of that. And I'm impressed by the topic and the sensitivity as well. Men seldom express the loss that a miscarriage means to them, and thus are thought to be unaffected. Well done, sir.

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