Surviving Miscarriage

Joan Baranow PhD is a Professor of English at Dominican University in California.

This poem appears in her forthcoming book, “A Slight Thing, Happiness” (Saint Julian Press 2022).

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Surviving Miscarriage

                                    for Duston

At six weeks you held on

even as your companions

let go the little notches they’d made –

like rock climbers on a slippery cliff

they stuck their crampons into ice,

breathing the liquid air, despairing

even as the face of the wall

gave way, and they fell 

down the path they’d come,

an avalanche of blood behind them.

You tightened your grip,

your cells, even then, knowing

what it took, 

the blood you wouldn’t need

sliding past. The cramps

lasted an hour or so,

and then we could hear your heart again

inside the emptier space.

Now the stars belonged only to you,

the woman in whose womb you slept

entirely yours.

They had climbed nearly to the summit,

your fraternal twins,

they had traveled without words,

crippled in ways we’ll never know.

While we waited safely at sea level,

you buried yourself stubbornly

against the precipice,

your yolk sac intact, everything

for the journey secured.

This poem appears in her forthcoming collection of poetry, “A Slight Thing, Happiness” (Saint Julian Press 2022).

It is currently available for preorder.

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Eric Dessner
September 25, 2022 5:53 am

I have forwarded this poem to several people who have found comfort in it!

September 20, 2022 12:06 pm

Great poem!

September 20, 2022 12:02 pm

Thanks so much for sharing!

September 7, 2022 9:40 am

Beautiful, moving work! Thank your for sharing.

September 6, 2022 6:24 pm

My eldest son was conceived through an IVF transfer of three embryos. At eight weeks, I miscarried two of those–somehow one managed to remain intact and unaffected by the loss. In writing the poem I wanted to show my son’s strength in holding on despite the terrible avalanche around him.

Eric Dessner
September 7, 2022 7:19 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Great Poem. Love the feedback!

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