Linda M. Robertson

Child, You Did Not Have


you did not have much of life:
seven days times ten,
all the while swimming
—a minute amphibian in fetal waters,
xxxxxxthe primeval sea within me.

How you floated, and grew:
formed fists and feet; dark eyes
that would never see beyond the placenta
to which you were moored by the pulsing cord,
as your diminutive heart

Abruptly, you, in your sea began to drift;
as if the anchor
xxxxxxxxxxxxxgave way.
On convulsive waves
you slipped from me.

you did not have much of life:
I never felt you quicken or kick, did not
grow sore from heel or elbow beneath my ribs
—you never gasped for air.

No ashes to cast,
no small grave to visit and tend—
nothing to mark your beginning, your brief becoming,
xxxxxand end.

Child, I loved you.
I was your mother each moment of your life;
xxxxxxmy never-born, my littlest one.


“Child, You Did Not Have” previously appeared in the chapbook, Reply of Leaves (Magic Mountain Publishing, 2002).


Linda M. Robertson has lived outside of Winthrop, WA, up the Chewuch Valley for over 25 years. Her chapbook Reply of Leaves was published in 2002. She is currently a Low-Residency MFA Candidate at Chatham University, Pittsburgh and working on a collection of poems inspired by visual art.