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 A, Baby 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