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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SAMANTHA QUITS GROWING, by                    
First Line: From ultrasound to ultrasound
Alternate Author Name(s): Brown, Fleda
Subject(s): Grandchildren; Growth; Sickness; Grandsons; Granddaughters; Illness

From ultrasound to ultrasound
she hardly grew at all.
In the old days we wouldn't
have known, or been able to name

her double-x chromosomes Samantha -
this grandchild, blind seahorse
on its rope swing, making its
debut in Albrecht Durer stitches.

Now itself, but sound.
Not sound, but sound's thumbprint,
wriggling, silvered, measurable.
Dear Scott - I used to put you

in your playpen, jewel
in a box, to keep you never mind
away from what. "Take
your vitamin C," I always

say. "Get more exercise,"
as if I could fortify you
against the past, and now
this black-and-white, filled

with imaginings, with
the husbanding of space, with
every test in the book
they did until - who knows

why - your daughter's growth's
picked up again - no Down's,
no MS, just the secret flesh
of human fear exposed

for a couple of months, as if
the soul were on the outside,
hands to its face, small legs
kicking away our attempts at clarity.

Copyright Fleda Brown

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