Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Should Have Been

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-- from Annie Finch's "The Raptor"

"The baby turned, my mind learned not to care"
what they all had to say. It still could be,
this should-have-been I tucked for keeps
in my spare room, a bony cradle, feet
unfurled and snugged up under my left ribs.
I can feel it, I say. And they say, Shush,
honey, you ain't helping nobody going on
that way. My mind turns from my too loose belly,
these people who insist I get up to pee.
This tug inside me must be my baby.


Ashley Nissler’s work has appeared in Ladybug, Cricket, and Tar River Poetry. You can also find it online at Strange Horizons and Poemeleon. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughters.


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