“The Miscarriage” by Courtney Kampa

Courtney Kampa


What I remember is how my mother used her entire body
to yank the gear of our red jeep into park, and then turned

around in her seat to say she’d only be a minute; wait quietly.
She rolled my window down, but forgot to close her door

which made the dashboard complain in beeps and bells,
and this upset me. Her coffee was left in the holder, hanging

its adult smell over the car like a shadow. She ran
across the grass to where her friend was heaped

on the front steps in a white linen dress—very loose—rumpled
and twisted as bed sheets emptied of arms and legs. I remember

it was the woman who let me wear her wedding ring
whenever I sat on her lap; who’d kiss the top of my head, telling me

the only thing strong enough to cut such a perfect stone
was another just like it. There on the bricks, she shook

so hard I thought that diamond must have cut her. It was the kind
of sob where no real noise comes out,

sputtering only one word—one I’d never
heard before: lucy-lucy-lucy-
lucy. I didn’t know what a lucy-lucy-lucy-lucy was

but I grew light-headed from its sound. It reminded me
of air slapping against cement, again and again,

on the flower-bothered basketball courts down the street.
It had a rhythm like the rosary or brushing teeth: that quiet, swishing,

frenzied grasp and drag. I won’t describe it; I don’t want
to describe it. All anyone should know is that the two sat

as hot and damp and helpless as the rest of July. That
eventually even the sun caught on, growing red-rimmed

around the eyes. It finally sank, sensing there was nothing
to be done but hang its head. All night the yellow jackets,

in their tiny waists, whirred themselves hoarse with lament.

from Rattle #34, Winter 2010
Rattle Poetry Prize Honorable Mention


Courtney Kampa: “Being 22 years old, I have little to offer in the way of a substantial bio, but will keep you posted.” (website)

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