By Lorna Rose 

Her name will be Victoria. Blond hair and pointy chin.
She will cuddle and curl her toes and be mama’s girl.
She will love musty smells and running barefoot.
She will be a professor, a poet, a gymnast.

Blood test. Missing chromosome. Likely to miscarry.

When do you stop celebrating your budding belly
and steel yourself against her kicks?

When does goodbye start?

Love for her throbs yellow, sometimes muted, sometimes loud;
smells of vinegar, feels like lukewarm bath.
Does she know your love is cool to the touch?
You must harden for farewell.

You drive and see specialists.
Good news and bad.
The yellow love surges and dulls and twists
into anger at her. Damn you, Baby,
why can’t you just be normal?

Her name will be Savannah.
She will be full of rage and hate.

When you emerge from yourself
the world is cruel.
You hide the bump, but people see it.
Congratulations? How dare they.
You hide in yourself again.

Her name is Maria, maybe.
You bury yourself in work so as not to think about her.

When she withers and passes through you,
you lay her to rest in a small casket
and place a yellow rose on top.

When again can you be a wife?
When is it ok to laugh? To be romantic?
Are you betraying her by living?
The world spins on and spins away
as you stand frozen in the yellow light.

When does goodbye end?

(A version of this poem originally appeared in the literary magazine Literary Mama.)