My Bubbie mumbles a Yiddish invective every time I mention
getting some new item for the baby not yet born:
the crib, a blanket, a book case.
I can’t argue her out of the world she knows.
There is no word in Yiddish for the small
whooshing sound of a heartbeat on a sonogram.
And her logic is simple:
A child isn’t a child until it has proved itself in blood and strength.
I think of the noise my heart will make if I regret cutting the tags
off the tiny green jumper, or washing the new sheets.
How my Bubbie will hear that wail all the way from Brooklyn
and return it in kind. How ashamed I would be
to hand this woman anything other than fat, warm, gurgling life.
She feels better when I tell her
everything is still in its box.
Emily Kagan Trenchard holds a master’s in science writing from MIT. She was the recipient of an honorable mention in Rattle’s 2009 Poetry Prize, and received a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2011. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.