since it was halloween anyway,
they carved a big jack-o-lantern grin
just above my pubic bone
and from inside that sinister smile
they scooped you out, pumpkin seeds and all.

i’d asked you to turn for months
towards the light, towards the exit sign,
towards that nice warm spot in me,
breeching seeming not just a position
but a breach in our contract
that you’d enter the world
not just loiter there, umbilical cord
looped around your neck
like a condemned man at the gallows
waiting for someone to kick the stool away.

in the end, they removed you
like tonsils, a lump of appendix, something
you get ice cream and mylar balloons for as a kid.     
as I lay on the gurney,  enough light above me
to bleach my bones, the nurses looked on,
and the residents, and the med students
and I don’t know, maybe popcorn was passed around.
I couldn’t see from behind the screen
where they carved me up like a big fat dinner carcass,
chirping away with their happy questions– “what’s the name?” and
“what would it have been if it had been a boy?”

it wasn’t till they held you over me,
a dangling cloud of blood,
my arms splayed out and strapped down that way,
Jesus on the cross style, that I realized for the first time
you weren’t something heavy I’d eaten for lunch,
a bowling ball implanted in a dream.
You were mine.
then they gave you to your father
and they wheeled me away.Kate Delany’s publications include a book of poetry, Reading Darwin, published by Poets Corner Press. Her poetry and fiction has most recently appeared in Art Times, Sotto Voce and Chicken Pinata. She lives in Collingswood, NJ with her husband Seth, daughter Samara, and cats Esmeralda and Emile Zola.

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