Hear me read this poem where it was first published: Tinderbox Poetry Journal

A White Room, A Piano

"For everything you have missed,
you have gained something else."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


My lost sons are not a wound.

The doctor did not cut my womb,

he didn’t make me hold them.

Time has stitched the pain.


What is gained in so short a life?

One breath each: Such slight air

wouldn’t ripple a candle’s flame.


I didn’t want to know them as sons

but the county mailed birth records

to our home: Baby Boy ABaby Boy B.


A year later in the same white room

where they died, my daughter’s

warm mouth found my breast.


Now she’s 24. Her self-portrait

in grays and peach and yellow

graces our bedroom wall. She awakens

the piano with Satie’s placid notes.

- Karen Paul Holmes