Complications

By Ginnie Padden

Gelatinous voices cresendo,
alarmed as my ragged breaths
flatten to your…sonar…blip…

I hear your timid heartbeat—my echo—
both of us straining toward life,
even while my lungs squeeze it from us.

Masked faces fade into white blindness.
Please, I beg, with tears,
my voice siphoned by intubation,

tubes weighting me like my round belly.
Faintly, I clutch at our promised future together,
snuffed beneath a filmy, oxygen tent.

So many of us have experienced loss this past year, and much of my writing has tended toward dark and brooding in response. Ironically, I published a pandemic-themed novel a few years ago—dealing with a stolen mutation of the 1918 Flu virus—which had a more positive ending than the year 2020. This poem, Complications, was written in memory of a certain young woman, anticipating the birth of her first child. We lost both souls on April 17, 2020. For Anya and for all those taken too soon.

2 thoughts on “Complications

  1. We’ve had to face death in ways we haven’t for decades. We got used to medicine sorting everything. When life feels precarious, we find our priorities.

  2. So many of us have experienced loss this past year, and much of my writing has tended toward dark and brooding in response. Ironically, I published a pandemic-themed novel a few years ago—dealing with a stolen mutation of the 1918 Flu virus—which had a more positive ending than the year 2020. This poem, Complications, was written in memory of a certain young woman, anticipating the birth of her first child. We lost both souls on April 17, 2020. For Anya and for all those taken too soon.

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