a heart that’s full up like a landfill



In a sonographer’s rooms, J is with me, so is Mum.
The sonographer sweeps the transducer across my belly.
“Is this a planned pregnancy?”
“No, not really but wanted. Why?”
“I can see two babies’ heartbeats instead of one”
I burst into tears.
J roars with laughter.
In the operating theatre, on the table. Epidural administered, stomach bare, waiting.
J at my side, holding my hand.
first baby is delivered, red & crying. Wrapped & held, brought to my side.
The obstetrician’s voice floats in the air.
“Rebecca, I can’t find your second baby.”
Minutes tick by. A strange emptiness surrounds me.
His voice again.
“Rebecca, your second baby is not alive.”
The room begins to buzz.
(in my head – He’s joking. He’s got to be joking. This is a trick.)
“Rebecca, your second baby is not alive.”
Buzzing in my ears.
A gap.

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when you have very big feelings
& by that I mean:
enormous, crushing, raucous,
crushing, loud –
what you want to do
is shut them down.

what this means is when i am with you,
i feel nothing,
i am not here,
& my heart hurts less
for now.

copyright: rebecca leathem 2016


I was the most precious angel

tho’ I felt more crazy than that.


I dumbed myself down

to the helpless girl –

those adult things aren’t for me.


the grief had the strangest


it slowed time to

the point of incapacitation.


my self: crushed & broken,

not forever –

just for now.


copyright rebecca leathem 2016


from B
notes on a party
fancy dress, cross dressing
a house fire
parentals to stay
& aroha

from K
dated 1986
before she got sick
plans for university
news of a boyfriend
a holiday, sport, hope

from R
word that
women at IBM
aren’t allowed to wear
low backed dresses
or trousers.


copyright rebecca leathem 2016

In this place your body lies

i’m here, hundreds of miles from you. Eight years from your birth. Reaching out to you my precious little boy. Sometimes I can’t stop thinking of how things  would have been different if you had arrived safely and stayed with us. But that’s not where we are & you gave me other gifts, hard lessons but now I’m so grateful.

I’m grateful to have carried you, I’m grateful to have held you, to have named you and to have loved you. And my darling boy I will always love you. Angel baby.DSCF1028