The Child We Could Have Had, The Child We Could Have Raised

tertia van rensburg
tertia van rensburg

The child
we could have had
The child
we could have…
raised

beautiful
as a fresh summer night
innocent
as the feather of a white swan
promising
as the first sentence of a new book

I hear it in the cries of every
restless baby
in the crowded restaurants
in the jammed streets
I hear it
like the last haunting note of a symphony
dying away in a concert hall

The child
we could have had
The child
we could have…
raised

beautiful
as a blue water lily
innocent
as the quiet mist of morning
promising
as a red night sky

I see it in the swollen belly of every
pregnant woman
in the loud playgrounds
in the coloured toy stores
I see it
like the colors that bedazzle the back of our eyelids
when we rub our eyes
in the sun

The child
we could have had
The child
I could have given…
birth to

The child that didn’t bathe inside me
long enough for it
to learn to swim along my heartbeats

The child that didn’t kick me
hard enough for me
to learn that pain could be at times
a blessing

I hear it in the echo of my own voice
whenever I introduce myself
I see it in the reflection of my bedroom mirror
whenever I step out of the shower
my hair dripping sins

The child
we could have had
The child
I could have given…
birth to
beautiful
as a fresh summer night
innocent
as the feather of a white swan
promising
as the first sentence of a new book
The child that still lives
inside the lines of thorns and orchids
The child that still lives
inside the memories of my flesh
The child we murdered with
our bare hands
The child we threw from
the cliff of time
hastily
without
flinching

The black blood that
never
dried. TC mark

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