Eight months pregnant,
Anna thumbs through glossy photographs
of drought in the Horn of Africa,
one more evening
while her husband works the night-shift,
in a play-cop uniform,
patrolling the grounds of a factory.
The baby kicks.
She feels queasy
at the sight of children with
swollen bellies, emaciated limbs.
Are these the originals, she wonders,
the authentic by which all little ones are judged.
Working class, apartment of their own –
will she give birth to something plump and cute but fake?
The tears of a tiny girl
almost weep through the paper.
A postscript says she died at eight months.
Can anything from her womb make the slightest sense?
But she’ll have the blessed child.
Just like her husband will work his job
though bored and unfulfilled by it.
Tonight, she’s heavy and useless
and about to give birth.
So must the world feel always.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.