A Pregnancy Scare in Three Parts
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,
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: