• Meg Gaertner

Writing Prompt: It doesn't get better.

It comes in fleeting, quiet moments.

It comes like a vision, a phantom, a dream.

It comes in arguments with David, who won’t understand, who can’t understand.

She feels it in her fingertips, the back of her knee, the top of her spine.

In her hair blown about by spring breezes.

In lips that won’t form the words she longs to be able to say.

In her womb, of course.

Of course.

It’s there in the room she cannot open, so David has to move everything on his own.

It’s there in the car ride to the grocery store, uninterrupted and calm.

It’s there in the silence.

Even when Sylvia comes, little Sylvie, sweet Sylvie—healthy and well-proportioned and crying.

And breathing.

Even then the ache persists.

These little hands are not those little hands.

These screams and laughs and tears are not those screams and laughs and tears.

Those she wishes she knew.

When Sylvie wakes up to see her sitting next to her bed, her face shining silver in the moonlight;

when Sylvie asks, “Mama, why are you crying?”

She can only say, “You are so beautiful.

You are so beautiful.”

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