They terrified me
by Kelley White



the women on Labor & Delivery limping
around in Johnies, white elastic stockings
under blue-white marbled thighs and shiny knees

I sat in the lounge
full of full ashtrays
trying to read the directions for hospital corners

and they smoked and said ‘spotting’
and ‘miscarriage’ and ‘her water broke’

‘cord around his neck’
‘blue baby’
‘bloody show’

and oh, pain, pain, pain pain

they didn’t talk about pain

but, hands on hips leaning back full-bellied
pushed through the heavy swinging doors

to cursing screaming
sounds I did not want
to hear
or make

thirty babies screaming behind a white window





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