Stillborn in a High School Restroom

by Jessica Blandford

Drip, Drip—water slips from the sink
spout, splashing the mirror
she cries from the end stall
A fringed shawl balled up in her mouth

Tap, Tap—a willow pressing inward
between fissures of smoky glass
through the glimmering light of dawn
A mother labors on

She cries out, the baby crowns, a toilet—
for a nursery, in her guts the pressure builds
too silent, she wipes her tears
and thinks, daddy can’t find out

she holds him against her breast
a purple cord around his neck,
swaddled in yesterday’s apple blossom dress
Johnny I’ll name him, and the night gives nothing back



Jessica Blandford graduated from Queen’s University of Charlotte with an MFA in Creative Writing. She worked on the editorial committee of the QU Magazine and is a testing proctor at Grand Rapids Community College. All of the time she doesn’t spend writing is spent with her daughter.

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