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Photo by Claire Kelly on Unsplash

I feel an emptiness
Inside of me
Once filled by a heartbeat
     I feel the brokenness
     Inside of me
     I never knew existed
     Before devastation
     Went and tainted
     My womb with poison kisses
          I feel the depth of sad
          The hurt and mad
          Emotions of grief within
This is a revelation
This is my portrait of salvation
Lost behind an infant’s cry
Unborn yet burnt so alive
I am the mother, harbor
Safeguard that failed yet tried
     Hear my angel cry
     I heard the sun die
     Falling to the west side
     Born east, dragged across skies
     Blood red sunset eyes
     Blinking, mourning into mine
          I was the one to hide
          The child from reapers
          But fell us both blind
          Splitting bloodbaths wide
I shed fleshful tears
For life lost years
A mother never earned past fear
I feel rivers of blood splash in here

Author’s note: Roe v. Wade being overturned finally gave me peace. It’s strange, I know, as on the political spectrum I am otherwise extremely to the left. I had two miscarriages and still feel my kids deserved an equal freedom to live. My first loss was my 7½ months’ pregnancy with my son, Bravery Airik-Mari, when I was 14 and survived rape. When I lost him, I lost all hope. Then another miscarriage in 2022. This poem is dedicated to unborn lives lost. I always wonder, “What if …”

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Heather D’Aoust is a nonbinary writer, artist and author of two books, who also publishes under the pen name Jeff-Free. A practicing Buddhist, D'Aoust is incarcerated in California.