My mother finds out about the child I did not have from Facebook. This is how regret arrives: in the arms of machines. I never knew how to tell her, so I let something soulless say it for me and I was wrong. ( I’m still wrong ) She says she isn’t angry, and how could she be? My mother is a quiet mountain, never moving. Sometimes her face is covered in snow. Sometimes scaling her face will kill me. We get in the car together to pick up the pizza and I say quietly, I’m sorry. She keeps her eyes on the road. It scares me to think you were alone when it happened, she says, and I have no talent for undoing the truth so I do not lie. I was alone with the blood, and then I wasn’t. I never told anyone, until I did. It felt a lot like waking in that red pool the morning my IUD told me I would never be a house for anything but failure. I hate the phrase my womb because mine does not work. I don’t need it to, but still, what kind of woman am I to this woman I love if I can’t do this one simple thing? She carries children everywhere. They hang on her like flowers on a blooming tree. She is beautiful. She would’ve loved my baby on the days I couldn’t. I gave her grandchild to a toilet. I gave the death announcement to the Internet years too late. I lost a child I did not know I was having. I was alone. The loss is not what hurts her. The loss is not what hurts me. The silence is what cuts us both, and deeply, a train vanishing into a long tunnel, the whistle tone dead in the air.
Photo by George Eastman