Sailing Boats

Jess shares her feelings in a poem to describe the shock and cruelty of finding out she'd had a missed miscarriage at her 12 week scan.

I watch the sailing boats
As they swerve and turn
Cutting through the silky water
Unexpectedly
In circles not lines
Rippling the lake
Like wrinkles
On soft skin
Slow
Steady
Each sail’s belly full
Majestically leading the way
The figure of the sailor hunched and still
Beneath
Respectful and ready
Which way next?

No sign of baby they said
In the dark room
We looked up at the screen
At the black circle
Where a white shape
And white jerky movements are meant to be
The curved back and kicking legs
The fingers and toes
Not there
Black
Let’s see
One more try
Oh
There
In the corner
An outline of a little head curled up
Small
Much smaller
There yes
But gone
There’s no heartbeat
I’m sorry
We look at the small head curled up in the darkness
It wants to stay there and my body wants to keep it
I’m not surprised
It’s cosy there, warm, up against one side
Resting in a hammock
Like the sailor in his boat
Hunched
And still
Guided by the wind
Which way next?

Outside
The sun is bright and mocking
The hottest March day since ‘68
We leave with the other couples and their well-progressing bumps
No picnic from M&S
Or calls
With tears of joy
We eat an ice cream in silence
Sticky little faces around our knees
The too-loud hum of life
Intensifies
As lockdown lifts
And we go back in
Lock down
And hug
Cry a little
Drip drip
Bed
Dinner
Sofa
Bed, sofa
Walk
Hours pass
Nothing for it
But to get back to it
Life that is
Drip drip
As the boats sail on
Slow and steady
Circles in the water
Unexpectedly
Rippling the lake
Drip
Drip
Which way next?

By Jess