by Laura MacDonald

The moment I found out I was pregnant,
I named the baby Godot,

not yet ready to be a mother.
I waited, my belly a swelling mound of dirt

I had always assumed barren, and I
closed the curtains on reality,

setting plays inside my womb,
muffled soliloquies echoing off fleshy walls

(that my mind, lacking a dramaturge,
had made to look like the inside of a whale:

a proscenium arch of towering rib bones
draped with red satin sinew and a

spotlight, tenuous at best,
coming in through the blowhole).

The day they cut me open and two
threadbare men climbed out of my belly

fully grown (though not fully shod)
and tottered away grumbling about being stood up,

I realized that I had been a mother
from the moment I gave you a name

and so I planted a tree instead of a stone
that, in the cemetery’s teeming soil,

would grow to be tall
but never sprout a single leaf.

IMAGE: “Pregnant Woman” by Otto Dix (1891-1969).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura MacDonald is not good at waiting patiently so she went and had herself a baby before reading all the baby books. She read other books instead. Motherhood has changed her in countless ways, the most surprising being that, in all the chaos of diapers, puree-stained tiles, and forgetting what it feels like to close her eyes, she has found that writing has become a need. A visceral, uncontrollable, wonderful need. She still hasn’t checked but she’s fairly sure that’s not in any of the baby books. Visit her at purpletoothedgrin.wordpress.com.