Stillbirthed – by Megha Majumder

my girlhood came to a strange close in the backseat
which always felt like such a personal place to be in
with another person
one of the hazards of letting someone touch you
is that you might forget their voice
but still remember their hands
I feel them now cold and I cry
it’s January or June so I pray
to your God who is now my God
I want to beg for gentleness
I want to show my palms upturned and say
this is all I can take please let this be the ceiling
I don’t know if anyone is born ready
for the kind of love that was in me
the kind between bodies that build bodies
that need the bodies they built
it almost happened but mine didn’t know
where to contain that love didn’t know
how yet maybe
my mother coos when she soothes me across
thousands of miles when I sob in the dark
of my closet like I did as a little girl
and then as a younger woman
I don’t feel his light anymore Ma
I don’t think I will again

Megha Majumder is an Indian-American writer, a Catherine E. Philbin Scholar, and a graduate student at Harvard Medical School & the University of Cambridge. At times memoir and at others manifesto, her poetry & prose are not simply written to or about her culture & community—but from it. At the heart of Megha’s work in medicine and in literature is a critical, compassionate voice advocating for empathy.

Painting: “Birthing”
Artist: Henry L. Jones
2019 – 16×20 inches -mixed media on canvas