by Eleanor Kedney
At a red light, I notice three women sitting together on a playground bench. Talking and
eating snacks. I’ve read articles on folic acid, breast pumps, getting rid of stretch marks, room
monitors, car seats, toddler sippy cups. I would have chosen Whole Earth baby food and 100%
cotton crib sheets, and I know that you don’t give a baby honey. I’d join them but for their watchful eyes, and ready, set, go—if their child swung too high on a swing; if in the momentum
of the merry-go-round, they leaned back too far, their head close to the ground and eyes looking
up at the sky. None of the children playing would be mine. I brandished the blade-sharp thought:
Of course a child wanted to be born to you; you would make a great mother, Ryn had said.
Those helpless words. The car behind me beeps, and I rev through the intersection. I have a half dozen tulip bulbs from the nursery in plastic cups on the passenger seat. Almost Easter; springtime.
I know I should plant something.
Eleanor Kedney is the author of Between the Earth and Sky (C&R Press, 2020), a finalist for the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and the 2020 Best Book Awards. She is also the author of the chapbook The Offering (Liquid Light Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in journals, magazines, and anthologies, including Miramar Poetry Journal, New Ohio Review, Pedestal Magazine, and Under a Warm Green Linden. Kedney is the recipient of the 2019 riverSedge Poetry Prize (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) and a finalist in the 2020 Mslexia Poetry Competition. Learn more at https://eleanorkedney.com.