Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

The Way We See It

by Ava Leavell Haymon

 

Outsized head, knees curling

into transparent belly. The sonogram

fuzzes all edges, monotone gray.

Right elbow tucks against a haze of ribs,

back of hand twisted under chin—

some of us sleep that way still.

 

Healthy fetus, everything we expect, except

the left arm floats out toward the sensing wand,

and, spectral but insistent, two digits

unspindle out of the tiny fist: a V.

 

Hi tech the only way we see it. Young parents

email the image to family, it’s forwarded,

forwarded again, printed out, stuck on

refrigerators, reproduced on bumper stickers.

 

Bloggers caption it: Right On, Brother!/

Right on, SISTER!/ Fight on, says New Churchill.

RSS feed: Fetal Neurologists unanimous–

Gesture is random. More captions:

Two Wars Too Many/ Two Beers

Over This Way! The baby’s gone viral.

Rebuttals proliferate, toymaker test markets

action figure, arms merchants lose sleep,

governments assign surveillance,

 

and the child is forgotten. It’s too deep inside

anyway to understand its peace as the opposite

of war or fear, it can’t read the news or count

land mines or other babies starving. Before gender ID,

 

before even hunger, the little hand moved

in the water. As our own must have done

before we knew better, before we were

blinded by lights and silenced by contradiction.

 

for Hailey Rochelle Campos