Other People's Love Songs


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Lullaby (for 45x from Rachel)

Rachel writes:

I’m not a religious person, but for once, I believed that I had been blessed. When I saw the beating heart on the ultrasound, I cried with happiness to be pregnant. Photograph of the love song's subjectI imagined that a white-haired fatherly God figure had stepped in to rid me of my preconceived notions of the perfect “when and where” of having a baby. I felt aligned with the universe, part of life in its totality from plants to the stars beyond. Even with the morning sickness, even with the crazy fatigue, “I sang in my chains like the sea” just as Dylan Thomas describes in his poem Fern Hill. I believed I suffered for the good of life.

At the next prenatal visit, I will never forget the look on my doctor’s face when she failed to find the heartbeat on the ultrasound. It had been dead for at least three weeks, yet my hormone-fueled body had continued to act pregnant. I had had no symptoms of an impending miscarriage. Just as unexpectedly as this being had entered my life, so, too, did it leave. All my dreams and fantasies of a life together — of first birthdays, of first disappointments, and first loves - disintegrated instantly.

No hope or silver lining existed in my grief, just an endless parade of pregnant women, chubby babies in strollers, and sweaty children running in playgrounds everywhere I looked. I gave up on the idea of a divine force in my life, benevolent or otherwise. I could not quell the darkness left by this loss. I could not run away from it. I could not drink or eat it away. Even now, just to write about this time period chokes my heart.

Later, the doctor tried to explain the test results to me, but all my brain could pick out was, “blah, blah, chromosomal abnormalities, 45x…something, something…45x.” So this being became 45x — a name for a network of cells that had managed to beat, to pulse inside of me for a few short weeks. Before 45x, I had spent the last five or six years tied up in “what if” scenarios that kept me from choosing motherhood. In its death, 45x made my life view much less romantic, much less rosy, but so very clear.

Lullaby (for 45x from Rachel)

You were one chromosome short
Of a boy or a girl
And I could feel your almost-heart
Before you left this world

One hundred forty beats per minute
I could hold my belly
And know that you were in it

You were too young to understand it
But you taught me how not to be
A hopeless romantic
A hopeless romantic

I was terribly tired
And pitifully pale
I was sleeping with cracker crumbs and ginger ale
Believing in God but to no avail

But my little mutant you are not lost
I still think of you every day
You’ve got a part of my heart
Along with a part of my DNA

You were too young to understand it
But you taught me how not to be
A hopeless romantic
A hopeless romantic

words and music by Corey Dargel (except as noted)
artwork by Marisol Limon Martinez
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