Friend(for C)

Featuring diverse voices and perspectives on experiences of infertility, conception, termination, loss, pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period, this collection illuminates the endlessly different ways the potential to carry life is experienced.


Every week we went walking, me with my baby

in the pram, then one more, then another.

You with your anguish, five years trying,

and still nothing to push in a pram


beside me. Each time we’d stop in the park

and you’d squat down to be with my children,

or ask to hold the baby. Walking

home, we’d pray, out loud, not caring


who stared at two Asian women, walking

and talking to God. I was always

exhausted. Always asking for patience

and sleep. More sleep. You were often


angry. Why did God take your mother

so early? Why the cancer that came

for you in your thirties, wasn’t diabetes

already enough? How long would you wait


for a child? Forever? I prayed for you,

wondering what kind of God would give

to one so much, so little to

another. Years later a photo


arrived from Sydney: a baby girl.

Yours. I pressed it to my chest

and wept. I thought of the holy book

we both know well, its string of stories:


barren women, unwed mothers,

longed-for children, and unexpected

arrivals. I take your story up

between my finger and my thumb,


and pierce it with my words: this pearl

of grief and joy, this tiny flaring

star, that pins you to my breast.

That tells us who we are.


First published in What We Carry: Poetry on Childbearing, edited by Ella Kurz, Simone King and Claire Delahunty. Recent Work Press, 2021, pp. 36-37. Available here.

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