Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sestina for Eva, Two Years On, Audrey

Sestina for Eva, Two Years On
by Audrey

Two years have passed since you were born with your twin
On every day since I have cradled your heart
A garnet sliver inside your open chest sewn together in blue
Plastic which was your world – isolette, tubing, the smell. I mourn
For all that we came so close to having -- the memory?
A lump of sand I can’t choke down. Naomi, your other half

Thrives but too there is the howling hollow spaces your absence, your half
Leaves unwhole. At 18 weeks we first learned of our twins!
You lived only 21 more and how I wish I could have more memories
Of your beauty, more than just that night before open heart
Surgery (the first), before the car accident, before cardiac arrest that morning
Before your body swelled, called for mercy and released you to the blue

On the good days, relatively, I imagine that you are soaring in the blue
Sky, your bright eyes free of pain and plastic. The other half
Of the time, I think I would take you in any form and mourn
The lost chance to hold you with your brother and your twin
For even one moment as the family of five that is my heart’s
Very beat if not the picture in my addled memory.

One part of me is pulled to you in memory
One part to hope, the pieces of my cracked soul in red and blue
The veins and arteries that are tentacles originating from my heart
Boring through everything everywhere, splitting into halves
And dividing against themselves creating more twins
Multiplying, amplifying all that we’ve celebrated and mourned

Only now can I finally see a morning
Bird soaring and I erect it on my shoulders into a tower in your memory.
In time we will tell Naomi that her twin
Flies so that she will never feel alone as long as the sky is blue
We spin and weave mythologies of you in trying to fill this cup to half
Fullness --for a start-- and grow the left ventricle of your heart

In another universe or dimension perhaps your heart
Is whole and beating. And in that place, I need not mourn
We are complete with both halves
That were never divided. There a book of memories
Is written about two girls with my curls and eyes a kind of blue
Touching as they were for 34 weeks, 6 days, inside one amnion, twins.

I will, to eternity, hold the memory of your heart,
Covered in the blue of an infinite sky in morning
You are half of my world, twin to the earth on which we continue.


about the piece.
In Audrey's words, "It took me a long time even to publish this poem to my own blog. I wrote this over the weeks leading up to the second anniversary of my daughter's death. The sestina is such an exacting form that it took time to adhere to it. I wanted that structure, however. I wanted a challenging process to work through."

about the poet.
Audrey is the mother of three, including a set of monoamniotic twins, twins who shared an amniotic sac, which is very rare, which earned her eleven weeks of inpatient monitoring and, sadly, hospital food. Her daughter, Eva, was diagnosed with a heart defect (hypoplastic left heart syndrome) in utero and died from post-surgical complications when she and her twin were 29 days old. As she approaches her personal "Lent" for the third time, Audrey is working to reconcile herself to life's dualities. Audrey writes at Glutton Button.


  1. Oh, this is beautiful and so powerful. The form just keeps at you with the repetition, and it works well.

  2. Yes, very powerful indeed. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. amazing.pulls my mind into two...

  4. This is so amazing and beautiful. Heart opening, and heart breaking.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Beautifully written. Thank you so much for submitting it here.
    'You are half of my world, twin to the earth on which we continue.' this final line made me catch my breath.


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