by Jennifer J. Pruiett-Selby

I used to hope for a window
clear of the plus sign now all I want
is a latent beacon of promise

We used to say trying is the fun part
Now trying means hCG injections
and I’m feeling more than a little bipolar

I subject myself to these shots—the natural course
but nature has nothing to do with popping hormones
though I prefer this method to the next steps

Three years later, twelve near-misses
our babies—just blood in the stool
not even 1 fetus to bury

I’m consumed; I dream of plump cheeks
my waves & your color, eyes like aggies
of jewel, gifted in math, an early reader

Trips downtown to Dr. Wiccan’s for
acupuncture and spiritual healings
stone messages, couples’ yoga

I’m tired, but still no closer. Oh,
imagine if when it works—the
specialist bills won’t even matter

We go for walks, spend afternoons
watching kids, their moms and dads,
unaware of their blessings

I don’t allow the use of certain words:
infertile, premature, ectopic, miscarriage,
Rejection. Loss. Futile. Barren. Empty.

We stop waiting. We stop talking
about the process, the treatments,
the failure, the babies, and the deaths

I take one more test. One final test.
One last moment waiting for a sign
of life. Uncross my fingers, and I see
two lines

IMAGE: “Baby” by Gustave Klimt (1917).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A woman of contradictions, Jennifer J. Pruiett-Selby joined the military to find peace. She lives a life of anything but intrigue with her husband, poet Jason Selby, and five children in rural Iowa. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Calyx, Red River Review, Rust + Moth, and Black Denim Lit,  among others. She was the featured author for March 2014 in Lunch Ticket Magazine‘s monthly issue of “Amuse-Bouche.” Her search for peace continues in the form of meditation through writing.