A micro-pang on a dark weeknight

Hard things have come up
and I have had to deliver them
from the middle of my mouth
into the cold air;
they kick and strain at a silent squall,
and suddenly they are noisy and no longer wholly mine
as they reach another’s ears.
But what is growing inside me now,
cannot be reduced or compressed,
stretched or rearranged or parsed
in preparation for its approaching appointed time,
a time I will not be allowed to choose,
the moment I will gather myself behind it
and push with one last desperate push
and utter in a gush at the end of my breath
to an empty room
“Please stay with me now”

Claudia Shepard


Claudia Shepard is a retired psychiatrist from Winston-Salem, NC who enjoys regaling her friends with her brilliant ideas and unusual turns of phrase. She is a harpist, singer, and caretaker of two aged dogs.

© 2017