Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Blighted Ovum

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It was a baby hedgehog that blocked my path
today on the way to Maddy's school.

Its fur was soft, tufted, and gray, barely
prickly. It lay with its eyes shut like a stuffed

doll, its infantile paws like a baby's
hands outstretched and resting next to its small

pink snout, so I couldn't tell right away
that its entrails were sprayed a foot or two ahead

where clots of red alive with black flies buzzed
while the neighbor's cat eyed me slyly before

swaying away with stained whiskers. Its sweet
plump belly is now an empty sac,

its fullness now its opposite, and its surging
pulse, too, the opposite, what it felt

has become the cessation of feeling.
There's no other way to get Maddy home,

I think, there's no other road we can take
around this. No reason or explanation

for what she suspects is true about the world
but doesn't know. I'll carry her over

this death, though her weight might make me bleed more.
It's too late. I'll carry her so she won't see.

I'll let her pick the apple blossoms that are
bursting from the trees now that spring has come.


Wendy Chin-Tanner is the author of Turn, forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in March 2014. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals including The Mays Anthology of Oxford and Cambridge, The Saint Ann’s Review, and the Raintown Review. Wendy lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter and serves as a founding editor at Kin Poetry Journal, a poetry editor at Stealing Time Magazine and The Nervous Breakdown, and a staff interviewer at Lantern Review.


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Beautifully written. A mom's love for child to not see what an animal had experienced and died.
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