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