Stillbirth

by Laure-Anne Bosselaar

On a platform, I heard someone call out your name:
No, Laetitia, no.
It wasn’t my train—the doors were closing,
but I rushed in, searching for your face.

But no Laetitia. No.
No one in that car could have been you,
but I rushed in, searching for your face:
no longer an infant. A woman now, blond, thirty-two.

No one in that car could have been you.
Laetitia-Marie was the name I had chosen.
No longer an infant. A woman now, blond, thirty-two:
I sometimes go months without remembering you.

Laetitia-Marie was the name I had chosen:
I was told not to look. Not to get attached—
I sometimes go months without remembering you.
Some griefs bless us that way, not asking much space.

I was told not to look. Not to get attached.
It wasn’t my train—the doors were closing.
Some griefs bless us that way, not asking much space.
On a platform, I heard someone calling your name.


From A New Hunger,  Ausable Press

What the writer says about the poem: Some poems need years of revisions to find their shape, form and tone, and “Stillbirth” was one of them. It took me decades to “let it go” at last, and only because I had been able to finally distill a long, 3 page sectional poem into fewer and fewer lines. But I kept wanting to repeat some of those lines and suddenly thought of the pantoum. It’s only after the pantoum’s third draft that I felt the repetitions worked — and that some of the lines acquired a different dimension as the pantoum progressed. I could finally let the elegy that had haunted me for decades go into the world. About Laure-Anne Bosselaar.

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