Pregnant Poem


Sometimes, less and less lately, I write poetry. Often, I write about places. I have a poem forthcoming in GSU Review (at Georgia State University) at some future date (they haven’t said when it will be out yet) titled “Blacklick” which, though it takes its title from the “town” I live in, is really about the growth and development of the state of Ohio, which grew in a very planned and purposeful manner, particularly when compared to where I’m from in New York. The state was parcelled out into counties before it was really settled, which I find fascinating.

Lately, I’ve been wanting to write a poem about being pregnant. It seems so ripe a subject and yet I am completely blocked as to how to begin the poem. I don’t even have the fits and starts of a poem. I have blank pages lined with faint blue reminders that words might arrange themselves in neat rows.

Sometimes, small images bubble up to the surface: the image of a furnace (baby’s making mama HOT), the image of popcorn (this is how it feels sometimes when he really gets moving around quickly, like my belly’s a pan of JiffyPop on the stove). But still nothing comes. My fear, of course, is that a poem about pregnancy will be either too sentimental and sappy or, in the opposite direction, too medical or mocking.

I’ve been reading a lot of pregnancy poems (and other poetry) lately to see what I like and what I don’t and in the hopes that my own pregnant poem will make itself known to me. Here’s my current favorite, which I discovered rather unintentionally at the website for the Academy of American Poets.

by Arielle Greenberg

I am three months out and six to go,
stuffing my plastic Superball body with the salt
& twang of crackers die-cut into the shapes of fish.
God forsakes me when I forsake him
but mostly he’s much kinder, as is his duty:
I am radiant, people tell me, and have no hives,
except the swarm of gold bombs biting its way
into my sticky hollow. And I don’t mean sex.
I am just a menagerie for bright orange creatures.
Even my dreams are godless (and full
of God): I dream I am guided
by an elderly couple in a dim farmhouse
to their morning radio and blackberry tea
and then given the combs which I snap
into my dry mouth where they fill and fill.
Never, upon awaking, have I been so empty
and wanted more a cracker. Never so
suffused with the weekly, with time
as another god passing through the many perfect
crypts and ambers I house beneath my skin.


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