The Miscarriage

By Amit Majmudar b. 1979 Amit Majmudar
Some species can crack pavement with their shoots
to get their share of sun some species lay
a purple froth of eggs and leave it there
to sprinkle tidepools with tadpole confetti
some species though you stomp them in the carpet   
have already stashed away the families
that will inherit every floor at midnight
But others don’t go forth and multiply
as boldly male and female peeling the bamboo
their keepers watching in despair or those
endangered species numbered individually
and mapped from perch to oblivious perch

For weeks the world it seemed was plagued   
with babies forests dwindling into cradles   
rows of women hissing for an obstetrician   
babies no one could feed babies received
by accident like misdirected mail
from God so many babies people hired
women to hold them babies babies everywhere
but not a one to name When we got home   
the local news showed us a mother with   
quintuplets she was suckling them in shifts
a mountain of sheets universally admired   
a goddess of fertility her smile   
could persuade the skies to rain Her litter   
slept ointment-eyed in pink wool caps while Dad
ran his hand through his hair thinking maybe   
of money as he stood surveying his
crowded living room his wealth of heartbeats

Pizza and pop that night and there unasked inside
the bottlecap was Sorry—Try Again
you set it down and did not speak of it
the moon flanked by her brood of stars that night
a chaste distracted kiss goodnight that night
your body quiet having spilled its secret
your palms flat on your belly holding holding

Forgive me if I had no words that night
but I was wondering in the silence still
begetting silence whether to console you
if I consoled you it would make the loss
your loss and so we laid beside ourselves
a while because I had no words until
our bodies folded shut our bodies closed
around hope like a book preserving petals
a book we did not open till the morning when
we found hope dry and brittle but intact

Source: Poetry (October 2005).

 Amit  Majmudar

Biography

The son of immigrants, poet and novelist Amit Majmudar grew up in the Cleveland area. He earned a BS at the University of Akron and an MD at Northeast Ohio Medical University, completing his medical residency at the University Hospitals of Cleveland.
 
In his precise, often formally driven poems, Majmudar explores themes of identity, history, spiritual faith, and mortality. In an interview with the Kenyon Review, Majmudar . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Birth & Birthdays, Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Men & Women, Parenthood

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Consonance, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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