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  • Rachel Welcher

The Life of Winnie Mae

Six poems about the child we lost, in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.


This


I ran through the rain

to tell you our invisible

secret. You grabbed my

hand and led me to

the front of the church


where we kneeled in

smiling disbelief,

my heart beating

so fast, your lips

praying, "Thank you,

God, for this.”



My First Mother’s Day


A phone app tells me

you're the size of a

sesame seed and that

your heart will soon

begin beating. I feel a

twinge in my belly

and don't know if I

should cry with joy or

hold my breath.


All I know is that

last night I woke

up at 2 a.m.

smiling.



Competition for the Maples


The yellow irises

unfurled today

in honor of you.


They stand bright

among the sucker trees

and budding maples -

short-lived in their glory.


A moment of spring

in the panic of this pandemic

And one day I will

show them to you,

as I will show you

the entire garden, if

only you would

keep growing,

beloved one.


Give the maples

some competition

because I can't wait

to meet you.



Today, I think I might lose you.


I'm bleeding a little. They say

it’s nothing to worry about.

They say, it’s normal. But I

can’t help but see you

slipping through my fingers

before even getting the chance

to kiss your face, smell your head,

and name you. Does it ever feel

like Happiness is just holding

her breath? That Joy, when she

comes in the morning, pours

the coffee with shaking hands?

I wonder if it ever get easier

to hope.



Maternity Shorts


arrived in the mail today,

two weeks late.


I’ll never understand

life dangled like

hope-bait, birthing in us

new dreams, only to

lead to a dead end.


We weep.


But the shorts still fit

my swollen stomach,

soft and stretched,

ready to carry you.


Two weeks ago,


I was planning

your nursery.


He was researching

mini-vans.


Two weeks ago

we were settling into

the idea of you,


your tiny heart,

and budding limbs.


And all the things

we wanted to show you.



When Grief Soaks the Ground


It wasn’t until I saw

the land you had tilled,

the dirt lining the sidewalk

leading to our house, that I

cried. Really cried. Realizing

that she will be sunflowers,

but never in my arms. Lord,

this feels like too much.


We plant seeds and pray, telling You

we trust You. And we do. We always

have, but this hurts. And we tell You

that, too. I am still bleeding from her

death as we push dirt into mounds,

telling one another for the hundredth

time this week: I love you. I love you, too.

And our grief soaks the ground, so

that we do not drown.


We will never forget you.




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