More Than She Can Bear

For Christy and Jo

You should not sidle up to her, nor proceed
to run your hands along the terrain of her belly,
don’t seek to see if the baby is moving, if it is high
or low. Do not touch what is hers.
She fears the demise of bees, the progress
of the plague, and helicopters that fall from
the sky unexpectedly. She gathers fear like pebbles
and hides them in the pockets of her maternity shift.
Rolls her hands along each one and curses it.
This will be her last child. The last time her body
expands to accommodate growing toes, small hands.
The last time she swaddles a child in her body,
to then watch it drop into a world littered with
all the pebbles her pockets cannot hold.

Carol Parris Krauss is a poet and teacher living in Virginia. She is passionate about the written word. This Clemson graduate has poems in various print and online magazines such as The South Carolina Review, Blue Collar Review, Eclectica Magazine, Pedestal Magazine, and Pebble Lake Review.

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