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I put my hand on her stomach and feel
for the baby’s head. Earthquake season.
After a beat, it finds my palm, nuzzles.
I sense other movements, a fumbling
in the dark of this woman. The couple
downstairs are blind and clumsy. Their
daughter is ashamed of her sight and
pretends to stumble all day. The baby
kicks twice, like its foot is caught on
a rug. Yes, like that, I think and move
my hand. Long ago, animals gathered
here, for water, for shade. Somehow I
can tell I’m over the face, the baby’s
eyes are open, it’s speaking. I kneel
to listen. A laugh begins in the floor.
Brendan Constantine is a poet living and teaching in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, The Los Angeles Review, The Cortland Review, RUNES, and The Underground Guide to Los Angeles. His collection, Letters To Guns, was published by Red Hen Press in 2009.