The Visit

By Carole Bernstein Carole Bernstein
A flashlight rolls over the walls of a cave,
searching, until the transducer comes to a halt
low on my still-flat belly.
The doctor says, "There's definitely a kid in there."

Easy for her to say—she sees this all day.
But it took us years to get to this point.
Years in the dark. Months of nothing and never.
Her expert eye interprets the grainy screen,

which I can't stop reaching toward,
pretending to point to features but really
just longing to touch the image,
as if it were somehow more there than in me,

this tiny, blurry, leaping bison or bear,
something from Altamira or Lascaux,
from the hand of an ancestor—
the first art we know.

Source: Poetry (March 1999).


This poem originally appeared in the March 1999 issue of Poetry magazine

March 1999
 Carole  Bernstein


Carole Bernstein earned a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from the Johns Hopkins Graduate Writing Seminars. She is the author of Familiar (1997) and a chapbook entitled And Stepped Away from the Circle (1995), which won the Sow’s Ear Chapbook Competition.
Her poems have appeared in the anthology Unsettling America (1994) as well as various journals and magazines, including the Antioch Review, Chelsea, Poetry, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Living, Birth & Birthdays, Relationships, Parenthood

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Simile

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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