one of my favourite poems

This Body Is Growing a Person

By Sheree Fitch


Why say: I'm going to have a baby?

You give birth.

But you never own.

You never have.

To say baby is to say cherub cheeks and dimpled wrists 

warm snuggle bunny baby bundle.

Sure there's a faint echo of crying and smell of baby shit

but both are sweet to ear and nose in conception.


Say instead:

This body is growing a person.

Picture that chalky fish on the ultrasound screen as

infant, toddler, child, adolescent

a grown person with a mortgage

no job, child support to pay.

Picture inside you a temper tantrum

a three-year-old scribbling on the walls

a face full of acne

a lip being stitched

a weeping teenager broken-hearted for the first time

a door-smashing wall-pounding adolescent

a runaway

an addict

a crackpot conservative, a lunatic lefty

a vegan

a vegetable

a prostitute

a convict

a schizophrenic

a tightrope walker, a high-rise window washer

a human trying to be.


Picture yourself inside yourself.

(Now there's a terrifying thought.)


For nine months see baby

an old person with false teeth, pleated face

halitosis, osteoporosis, a bruised heart.



This body is growing a person.

Be prepared

when baby stands before you

framed in the arch of a doorway

waving goodbye with a promise to call

a baby you can no longer hold

                            no longer rock

                            no longer kiss and make it better for.


Just watch:

as he goes out

into a world

that most days

is just not              good           enough

for any baby you might dare to call your own.


1993, Sheree Fitch. In the collection "In this house are many women, and other poems", Goose Lane Editions. 

Sheree's website is here.