The Appointment

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me…
Sometimes I wish someone up there would find me.
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams”

I’m in the audience, watching my daughter in solo dance.
She writhes, closed eyes, blue light on her face, grimacing,
fingers twirling arabesque of pink. It’s how she looked
as she was delivered, aware of air and its weary impress,
drawing first breath, in receipt of her birth.

I remember the other babies — one we named Aurora.
My then-love, a saxophone player, and I ate homemade
bread, discussed narrative arc, even as my body tunneled
under desire’s karst, sinking all my plans. With scales
from the reedy basement looping through my head,
I opened Yellow Pages for Seattle Prenatal, finding
Population Dynamics instead. And, though I wanted him
to, he didn’t argue, and drove me to the appointment.

Stirrup, speculum, suction, evacuation; then, the doctor showed
me a metal bowl, saying cheerily, See, it’s nothing but tissue!
I stumbled over white linoleum squares to spew. The next day,
alone on the plane to Berkeley, I cried for what might have been.

Aurelia, onstage, improvises to The Boulevard of Broken Dreams,
her body conveying pain I’ve known: my woman’s life hardly born.
And, I’m glad her spirit lingered as I grew in my cocoon.
For this gold, this dawn, this butterfly,
I made room.

Kathryn Jordan is a writer, musician, and teacher from Berkeley, CA. She has been blessed to study with Robert Hass at UC Berkeley, where she received her M.A. in English/Creative Writing, and currently works with Ellen Bass and Alison Luterman. She has been invited to read at various Bay Area poetry institutions and she has a poem coming out in the anthology, “Solamente en San Miguel.” Kathryn is the 2016 winner of the San Miguel de Allende Writers’ Conference Prize for Poetry. Her manuscript, “Riding Waves,” won third place in the Finishing Line Press “New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition” and will be published in February, 2018.

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