A Pregnancy Scare

A Pregnancy Scare in Three Parts
Cathy Cook


There is a ghost in my gut
some spirit that is both there
and not there at the same time,
Schrödinger’s baby until I brave
the pee stick. The child-to-be
that both does and does not exist
is already keeping me up at night
before its existence has even
been confirmed. I have bitten
my fingernails down so far
I am now chewing on the edges
of my fingers. The baby-that-has
is a phantom crib in my bedroom.

Every proffered beer, margarita,
shot of vodka or tequila
is filled with existential dread.

Can you be a bad parent before
the existence of a child is confirmed?
Still I say no. Still I do not pee

on the stick, leaving me in alcohol
limbo. A woman who both can
and cannot drink. I have compromised,

given up alcohol but not caffeine
until I resolve this ghost in my gut.
Read the prophecy in the pee stick.

It’s easy to pretend.
Easy to ignore the lack of blood
as the moon waxes, wanes,
waxes again.


I am the moon if I am mother.
I am waxing into something
incandescent and mysterious,
something ominous yet holy.
But the baby does not yet exist.
I am not the moon. So my hands
are bitten into obedience

I am a small mammal, frozen
in fear by the predator future.


Piss. Wait 2 minutes.
One blue line. Negative, so
why am I still late?

Cathy Cook is a Pushcart prize nominated poet and the 2018 Albuquerque
Poetry Slam Champion. She works as a journalist in New Mexico. Blog: