JANUARY 2018
Those Lost Babies
He was my boyfriend's best friend
home from Viet Nam, standing
under the porch light, his laugh
resonating in the night

He became my best friend,
holding back what we felt
until the other thing ended
and we could be together

His kiss as if my first
my first orgasm,
my only orgasms,
the waking of my body, the uncontrollable
lost in whatever there was between us

Listening to Coltrane, Miles
He too was a musician, his cornet
forever by his side, I'd watch him practice
sitting on the floor at his feet, mesmerized

Walks on the pier, crab legs beer
bullshit sessions with his friends
Talking about the war, jazz
And me digging it all

I thought I could not conceive,
never missed a period, no birth control pills,
no condoms, not even withdrawal
said he couldn’t have children,
some childhood operation

Then I missed, where was the blood
how do I explain to this man who couldn’t
or was it his lie

Boarding a bus for the long ride
to his small house hidden by the trees
my skin crawling, my head pounding

Sitting on the cold stone porch
waiting, then his approach
words slowly, haltingly from my lips
my eyes wet, whispering I'm pregnant

There beside me, his voice dry
I’m not going to marry you, I don’t love you
I never thought he did, but just hoped
as I made the ride home alone

A week later there he was
telling me to get dressed,
We were going to his concert
did this mean he loved me

All the way there he laughed, joked,
nothing about the baby swelling
beneath my dress
nothing about our last words

Introduced me to Black Arthur
played the sax, some other guy
wanting to sell my knitted cap
the ones I had made only for him

Then I saw her,
high school sweet heart
couldn't wait for him while
he was in Viet Nam
had a kid by some guy now gone
She fucked up my flow sitting behind me
Her gaze in his direction

Girls in the front row screaming his name
Making me feel out of place then
a horn player left the stage, stopped,
blew into my face, bobbing and grooving
could he see the welling in my eyes

Two months later I started to bleed,
my grandmother drove me to the hospital.
The pain in my body, my heart
When it was over I called, he came

He proclaimed It was my fault,
I didn’t take care of myself.
I didn't want the baby
his eyes cold as I tried to explain
the baby I loved, he would not hear

For months not a word, leaving me
to grieve alone, then a note left
on my door, a cryptic list
of cities, he'd been on tour.

Next day a knock, how ashamed
and sorry he was, mad at himself
not at me as he his thumb wiped
away my tears

We were back, but changed
that spark when he looked
at me now gone
missing who we were
fearing who we had become

Pregnant again, my secret alone
didn’t know how to tell him
what would he say, leave again
then the blood flowing down my legs
He didn't know until it was over

His eyes, his voice hard
don't do this again, we keep
fucking up, something is
wrong, we can't make babies
so, I didn't, not with him.

Soon after he moved away,
becoming a concert conductor
whenever he was here he'd call,
take me to dinner, sushi, Sapporo beer
back to my place where smooth brown
arms encircled and entwined

I didn’t see him anymore
he became famous, heard he married
divorced, traveled the world conducting
I moved on to men I could not love
grieving those lost babies

Saw him 40 years later
We both had a child, he a boy, me a girl
When was she born, his eyes fixed on mine
his hand ever so lightly on my arm
No, she wasn’t his, but she should have been


In 2009 Aurora M. Lewis received a Certificate in
Creative Writing-General Studies from UCLA, with
honors, at age 59. Her poems, short stories, and
nonfiction have been accepted by The Literary
Hatchet, Gemini Magazine, Persimmon Tree
Magazine, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, to name a
few. Suffering from bipolar depression and anxiety,
she stopped writing for several years; however, she
has been removed from medication and has
resumed her passion for writing.
AURORA M. LEWIS