Layne Ransom – What We Can Bear

Layne Ransom

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
of stars

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.

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