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Poetry Summer 2018    fiction    all issues

Poetry Cover Summer 2018


Cover Michael Lønfeldt

Carol Lischau
& other poems

Noreen Ellis
Jesus Measured
& other poems

Amanda Moore
Learning to Surf
& other poems

Adin Zeviel Leavitt
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Stay a Minute, the Light is Beautiful
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
The Wellfleet Oyster
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French
Watermelon Love
& other poems

J. L. Grothe
Six Pregnancies
& other poems

Sue Fagalde Lick
Beauty Confesses
& other poems

Abby Johnson
Finding Yourself on Google Maps
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar
& other poems

Merre Larkin
Sensing June
& other poems

Savannah Grant
& other poems

Andrew Kuhn
Plains Weather
& other poems

Catherine Wald
Against Aubade
& other poems

Joe Couillard
Like New Houses Settling
& other poems

Faleeha Hassan
In Nights of War
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
Thelma: ii
& other poems

Sarah Louise
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Inherent Injustice
& other poems

Frannie Deckas
Child for Sale
& other poems

Jacqueline Schaalje
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
Her Face
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
& other poems

J. L. Grothe

Six Pregnancies


Pen hovers.

Three options, check one:

Hospital will dispose of remains according to protocol for medical waste.

Funeral home will collect remains for burial.

Patient will postpone decision for up to fourteen days. If no other option is chosen, hospital will dispose of remains according to protocol for medical waste.

(How is that three options? Isn’t it just two, really?)

Hand drops.

One call to a funeral home.

Er, um,

how much to bury an embryo

and a Fallopian tube?


Strong enough to rend a body, imperil a life,

small enough to be a baby,

big enough to hold a lifetime of dreams on its shoulders

—did it even have shoulders?—

too young to merit a coffin, a funeral, hundreds of dollars,

  the fuss and sympathy reserved for a lost loved one,

too old to be unremembered, unmourned.

Scratch an X.

Option three it is.


Daffodils erupt

in sunny hallelujahs

and an infant squawks.


Desire begat Possibility,

Possibility begat Wish,

Wish begat Anticipation,

Anticipation begat Optimism,

Optimism begat Expectancy,

Expectancy begat Hope,

and Hope begat Plans.

Plans begat Apprehension,

Apprehension begat Unease,

Unease begat Agitation,

Agitation begat Rumination,

Rumination begat Foreboding,

Foreboding begat Consternation,

and Consternation begat Dismay.

Dismay begat Bleakness,

Bleakness begat Futility,

Futility begat Desolation,

Desolation begat Woe,

Woe begat Despondency,

Despondency begat Resignation,

and the woman begat nothing.


From ashes must rise new life.

This one will live

This one will live

This one will

This one




As a parent’s hand shields a newborn’s head,

  detachment guards me, cynicism defends me.

Keep your scans, your tests, your explanations of benefits.

I do not want to view an unformed sac with no heartbeat

  or to hear faux optimism that perhaps my dates were wrong

  or to sit alone in the car and cry because I am not stupid.

The pain this time is physical.

Sensing what is to come,

  not knowing what to expect,

  I query Dr. Internet urgently.

“Cramping,” says the Internet . . . as pains wash toward me, draw my entire focus, then ebb away.

  Instinct rises up;

  I pace, then groan.

  I scour my memory for breathing exercises learned long ago,

        never put to use during surgical delivery.


  No, contractions. The cervix is dilating

        —my first time in labor.

“Blood and tissue,” says the Internet . . . as a perfectly intact sphere

  carefully enveloping a tiny body

  passes from its place of safety.

(How often does the Internet understate something?)


Like droplets from parched earth, brief, bubbling joy

—and laughter: As was Sarai, so am I.

To carry home a healthy girl or boy

would bifocals and calendars belie.

A fledgling fluffs and stretches out its wings

—this longing, hatched and quite prepared to leap.

I tie it to the branch before it flings

itself to plummet in a feathery heap.

Long minutes, stitched by hand into each hour,

and hours, slowly cobbled into day,

expose my odious tendency to cower,

my trepidation when I try to pray.

A wail, embrace, and sweet new name lay bare

both fear and joy . . . and prod me, now, to care.

J. L. Grothe can’t seem to limit her interests to one genre or medium. She has written for documentaries and instructional media, edited news and academic works, and designed learning experiences for both adults and children. She continues to explore poetry, memoir, photography, and video editing. Grothe lives with her family near Denver, Colorado.

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