239: Elegy for Almost

239: Elegy for Almost

239: Elegy for Almost

Elegy for Almost
by Rebecca Lehmann

It was as simple as this: I really wanted you
and then you were gone. Bad things happened:
my finger pinched and bruised in the Dutch door
at the daycare, the infection in my left eye
that spread to my right, the election
that didn’t go the way I wanted it to.

I was unconscious when the doctor slipped
her instruments in and took you out:
sac with no heartbeat, placenta that wouldn’t
let go its hold, raspberry sized cluster
of cells that didn’t put together right.
My love. My blinkered-out gaslight.

When I was 17 and drove my car, stoned,
around the Wisconsin countryside, I never
knew you. I ping-ponged over the yellow
line, singing along to Cohen’s “Hallelujah,”
my guidance counselor’s son waving
his tattooed arm out the passenger window.

Why do I think of those far away days now,
and again and again? Little against-the-odds,
in the daycare parking lot, three weeks later,
I tell another mother about you,
each word scraping the late fall fog,
the loss of you focusing in, like a telescope’s

broad lens catching some swirled debris
on the edge of the solar system,
some not quite formed ghosts
of rock and ice. Littlest little,
if I could find you there, I’d catch
you by your heel and never let you go.

"Elegy for Almost" by Rebecca Lehmann, from RINGER, by Rebecca Lehmann, copyright © 2019 University of Pittsburgh Press. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.