In Utero by Susan L. Leary

for Cindy Warmbier

What the doctors call unresponsive

wakefulness is a brute truth—yet

it is also poetic: because what the North Koreans

will never understand

is that they have returned Otto Warmbier

to his mother’s aching belly.

Forget more information: she is the exact space

of his existence, and with the hum of a symphony in her mouth,

she may go to work: harvesting the flitting heart,

blinking eyes, and tiny kicks

of a baby she believes can hear her.      

Now she will do the thinking,

the loving, and his neurons: they will practice the growing,

all fire, all pop,

all snap: purposeful, as movement, always,

makes what is human—like when water breaks,

or limbs part,

or purple suns rise as half-moons from the transparent beds

of fingernails, just so the heavens might be seen. 

Unto the world must then be delivered

a sweet, radiant boy, his mother exclaiming:

This is my son. This is my son

And in a faraway land, we will all feel

the unimaginable tremor of his breathing.    

# # #

Susan L. Leary is a Lecturer in English Composition at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. Her most recent creative work appears or is forthcoming in Clear Poetry, Steel Toe Review, The Copperfield Review, Antiphon, Gyroscope Review, Cold Creek Review, Dying Dahlia Review, The Big Windows Review, After the Pause, and elsewhere.

Photo: Natalia Kollegova



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