by Heather Carnaghan
There it is,
the look of recognition
the scan of my body
and the moment she takes in
my shrinking waistline.
She gleefully asks, “Did you have the baby?”
Timidly, I squeak out “Yes”
My nod is too emphatic; it raises alarm in her eyes,
She was born, but
“No”, my head sways left and right,
She never came home with me that day
Her eyebrow raises and I doubt my answer
Should she count less than babies who do?
My head bobbles, my gut contracts.
My limbs itch to run or fight.
I race to the nearest locking door
so I can catch my breath
before the next
“How many children do you have?”
“Where’s the baby?”
or “We’re expecting!”