With Child
Marni Asplund-Campbell, editor

Pregnant Again
Marni Asplund-Campbell

[p.41]An astronomer said she could make a map of the universe, or the nearest part of it, by measuring the light of stars, one by one, recording the flash that reaches earth in a fragment of time. Dividing the spectrum of the emanation, there is a sudden flash of red, the burst of hydrogen, that comes when a light source is at a certain distance. She drew whole systems, galaxies, relative to her fixed lens, perched on a mountain top, free from the interference of manufactured light. When she showed her slides, I laughed! Trembling in light, on the pale screen, the universe was dancing. A million tiny stars, clustered around vast dark spaces, looked like arms and legs, connecting at the fine tips, ballerinas on point, holding hands, or paper dolls in a bright chain.

Now I am expecting. I expect many things,
the fixed points in my life, to move quietly aside.
First, the wall of an egg compromised
then my sleep, interrupted
with bright dreams and heavy breathing.
My lungs, kidneys, bladder,
compressed at the edges of my frame,
our family will shift to receive
another voice, eyes, expectations.
I measure this all so carefully
with small signs, red shifts,
one day, two days lapsed in a predictable pattern,
subtle, enormous deviation.
The days become monumental as I wait
for a sign,
the shape and weight of my breasts,
[p.42]a change no one would know, but me.
From a thought, a smile,
comes first this uncentered weakness,
then stern kicks against my inner skin, a
destructive shaping of hand and forehead,
eyes the color of ice, or chestnuts,
the silent revolution of days,
reminding me of my forgetfulness
in the nearly empty universe,
that I have not felt your hand for centuries.