Prenatal – by Katie Hamblen


Just-ripening belly, barely swelling
the maternity two-piece made up
of beautiful shades of blue,
I drove down to the sea,
two fruits still green inside me.

I took coolers of snacks,
fruit cups and low-fat cheese sticks,
I dined on fish and potatoes,
steroids and prenatal gummies,
working to soothe the gut
so inflamed by your creation,
by my brimming cup of hormones.

That summer, there was a sandbar
on our rented stretch of beach, so close
with such a shallow crossing
that I did not fear to wade out, plant
myself there, stare at the horizon
as the waters washed me, healed me
where learning to be a mother
was fissuring me, taught me how to join
both parts of myself, like the place
where ocean blends into sky.

Katie Hamblen is an English instructor and M.F.A. candidate studying poetry at Western Kentucky University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Shift, When Pens Bloom: A Chapbook Collaboration with Poets Are The Destroyers and Plants & Poetry, and Ghost City Review, and she is a peer reviewer for Whale Road Review. She lives in Nashville with her husband and their four-year-old twins.

Art: "Rising Tide" by Sandy Coomer - 8X8, acrylic pour on claybord
Statement: Sandbars and tides and shades of blue, the poem ebbed like water, ripened into its images. This art piece swirls like the emotions of a mother-to-be.