What We Can Bear
Amazing that anyone ever
got anywhere. Pastel triangles
a halo, bending. On the phone
when she says
Your brother won’t talk to me anymore
I wonder how many times a mother
can survive losing a child.
At best, I’d be a daydream
if the first one had lived.
Wear dark blue shoes in summer,
open the dirty blinds, eat ice cream in bed—
I perform one little proof
of existence after another, startling
and complete. My daughters
who will never live have names
written on their foreheads
of nothing. When the woman
who prescribed my birth control
said as an afterthought
it’d be hard for me to have children,
I sighed with relief—
what could the lineage of this body be
but blood-soaked incompletion
or whelps searching for a mother
in an unnamed country
of loneliness? In the place where I was born,
fields rise like soft, sleeping bellies from the earth.
The gray sky does not move
but sits with me, a loyal friend.
Layne Ransom continues to exist. She is a former poetry editor of the Bat City Review and has poetry and nonfiction published or forthcoming in North American Review, Quaint Magazine, Pinwheel, and others. Layne lives in Austin, Texas.