Wasn’t

The morning after my miscarriage I sat in a clinic waiting room clutching a paper bag which held a Ziploc bag that had been in the fridge overnight; inside it, the cluster of cells that might have been my first child. A former teacher from my high school is sitting a few rows over in the same clinic and I keep hoping she does not see me. I do not want to explain why I am here or what it is that I am holding, the thing the nurse asked me to save when I call her from home the night before.

The pain started only a few hours after I heard the heartbeat for the first time. It felt like birth, but wasn’t.

I do not know why I am thinking of this this morning, except that the most spectacular winter sunrise is occurring and what is sunrise if not a kind of birth? Half the sky, full of rainbow-shaded thick clouds, the other half, clear and pale, a bright line dividing line of gold sharply between them; the black lines of branches, all silhouettes and shadows, like bones of the earth rising sharply upward—night birthing day.

Or maybe I am thinking of it because it is barely January and whenever the year tips over from one to the next we are supposed to think of beginnings, the way we will make things new, and when I think of things I want to make new I think mostly of things I want to undo but can’t.

Instead I pore over weather reports and populate my language with ice, recount all the shapes of snow, the way, overfull, the flakes fill my hands, the way the sunlight glitters when lawns are covered in white. Yet when that full sun fills that sky, bright and beaming and colorful and big, nothing warms, nothing changes.

I think of things I want to undo and the man whose name is among them, that silence, something more dangerous for me  than the cold outdoors, the way shards of the unsaid hang like ice from the eaves.

How that first day, when he had smiled at me, it had felt like beginning.

But wasn’t.

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