Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Gazing Across Venous Lake

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The first glimpse
of my daughter
showed nothing I’d been dreading—
a carrot-thin, three-toed, faceless thing

but instead confirmed my luck,
my baby’s every bit
intact,
perfectly formed.

Yet in that first ultrasound,
along the uterine wall—
a shadow
a pool of blood

a site where past and future
had fought, a whole
evolutionary struggle:

a venous lake,
possible site of a twin
now gone,
now history.

I didn’t mourn anyone that day

but kept looking across that lake
again    again    again

studied the grainy xerox,
the cheekbones
the curl of her fist

searched for traces of damage

found none

her first loss so deep in her bones
I’d never see it

the separation already begun.


Julie Paul is the award-winning author of two books of short fiction, The Jealousy Bone and The Pull of the Moon. The Pull of the Moon was listed as a Globe and Mail Top 100 in 2014 and received both an IPPY award and the 2015 Victoria Butler Book Prize. Julie’s poetry, stories, and essays have appeared in literary journals and anthologies across North America, and her first book of poetry, The Rules of the Kingdom, is forthcoming in 2017. She lives with her husband and teen daughter in Victoria, BC, Canada.


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