Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The Three Babies

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Doctors’ offices demand statistics--
weight, height, family medical history,
number of pregnancies: 3
      number of children: 1

The first bled through,
a brilliant wave heaving me
to a Maui beach onto my belly.
That doctor: You can’t shake a healthy
apple out of the tree. Apple a day,
ultrasound curl

The second, a surprise--
A singleness announced as
quietness. I spotted, shivered,
lay on our leather couch, clenching fists,
petitioning, "Give me this,
give me this one."
A warmth flushed my belly.
I thought I'd saved the baby.
I stood, blood drained.
No one told me breasts weep.

The third time, we intervened,
another doctor with hormones of faith.
She lived. Today is her thirtieth birthday.

I carry the two
would-have-been womb spirits
behind my left shoulder,
those I loved and who I believe
loved me to death.

Tricia Knoll’s poems have appeared in dozens of literary anthologies and journals. She is a Portland, Oregon poet with a new chapbook, Urban Wild, from Finishing Line Press. She has been a proud mother of Gillian Galford, an ecosystem scientist studying climate change, for 32 years, and remembers the days when Gillian left for college. Please visit Tricia’s website at for more information.

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