Sodium Pentathol


I’ll tell you the truth, or would if I knew it.

I heard no first suck of air, no first cry,

my little fish changing gills for lungs.

Did not clutch her to my breast,

wet and bloody, mouthing my nipples.

Do not know the push, the pain.

Never felt the silver cord spiraling from my womb.

Doctor men in my time, terrified for me,

followed the Golden Rule.


This I know – – I waken in sterile sheets

gazing at my toes

I wait for hours, till a nurse

brings this red-faced creature in,

all dried, powdered, and wrapped,

and introduces her to me.

I have held her beneath my heart

for nine months now. We have taken

long walks together, shared every meal,

and I do not know her.


Born of ether,

I, too, am a stranger.

My mother named me Stranger,

alien in her arms.


I’ll tell the truth. There were five of them.

One, I neither held nor saw,

Serum took away my pain.

Took away

my joy.





┬ęBarbara Fryrear 1998