Muted Lullabies

Abby Wilson

Two lines of

pink radish,

a revealed truth

we weren’t ready for.

In three months,

we arranged a mahogany

crib and changing station

in a gender-neutral nursery—

chevron elephant grey

and foamy white. I had spent

daybreak to darkness

hugging porcelain in our

bathroom, chewing on

ginger root and saltines.


One night I woke up drenched,

sharp pains filled my

abdomen and groin. I saw

pooled liquid staining the sheets,

the poinsettia color transforming

into fading rose. My doctor

confirmed it at the ER—

beyond the foggy white, in

between stars made into

an oval, I saw nothing but

darkness—a black hole

where my baby should be,

blurred and floating.


Envy has new meaning

when you’re rolled by

the newborn baby wing

smelling of warm biscuits

or cake, and a glass of milk.

Lullabies escape cracks

from mineral gray, double

their newborns, their cheeks

containing splotches

of peach fuzz. One mother

reaches for the icy blue or

teaberry pink burp cloth buried

in the denim duffel bag,

diapers exploding from the

pockets after breastfeeding

the baby. I envy

the mothers who have

engorged breasts, full

of milk to feed little ones, mothers

who accidentally lactate any time

they hear a cry, who take

their babies home

to walls painted a sea washed

glass or honeydew, to mahogany

cribs the child would dream in.


I will never get to swaddle

my baby with a silken peacock

blanket. My breasts are still and flat

with half brewed milk

that would’ve nourished

my child. I will not be using

my diaper bag, with burp

cloths, pacifiers, breast

pumps and bottles buried

behind the closed zipper.

The mahogany crib full

of stuffed lions and giraffes,

an elephant and a pooh bear

won’t feel tiny fingers or

showers of slobber.


My husband took

me home, forced me into

the porcelain tub of

waves and ripples. I ripped

off the monorail silver

magnets stuck to the tiles,

chucked them toward

the trash can, cracking

the bathroom mirror.

My husband was saying

something—his peachy lips

moved, shaping this vowel,

that letter, but sound had ceased

to exist while he bathed

my motionless, muted body.

Spring, 2018 Issue

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