by Sean McQuinney
The solar-system mobile back home
bobbed in the air-conditioned breeze
while Toni was lying in the hospital,
spread legs in stirrups and her belly
slicked with medical gel the doctor
never bothered wiping away before sending her,
septic and fading, to an operating room.
She had lost the girl in the night.
The boy was a blotch of flesh hidden
by his sister on the sonogram.
He was a shadow of a heartbeat.
After the girl had been removed
(they called it a reduction),
Toni whispered names:
Sarah. Estella. Clara. Alison.
A nurse sponged away the gel,
the iodine, the clotted blood, the stool,
and carried away the spent gauze.
About the Author
Sean McQuinney earned his MFA in Poetry from the University of Florida in 2019 studying under Ange Mlinko, Michael Hofmann, and William Logan. He has publications in South 85 and in Frontier Poetry.