Lianne O’Hara reads “Nine Months, at 34”
Nine Months, at 34
Flat on my back in a field: the ewes are fat with lamb. A March hare flips and leaps; tumbles over itself with precision. I hold my stomach with both hands, don’t push away the farm dog when it licks my face. I am stupid with glee. When I return to the city, the shops explode with glitter. Under the pink, there is a promise: bulky women wobbling in the aisles; prams blocking the footpath, milk, milk, milk. I count the trolleys holding life: mouse-eared onesies in leopard print, knitted socks the size of plums, purple with anticipation. The fat women are everywhere. In summer, I empty the bathroom bin into my pockets and carry out another test: if she floats, then she is not. Clear water breaks against my fingers; I am left empty- handed. Cut-up turnips bare their teeth in well-kept gardens, laugh at the tiny feet of witches and nurses and ghosts. At night, I cover my ears and weep. In November, a plastic snake is pushed inside. I watch my womb on a screen. I had hoped for more, someone says. A little on the low side. I am a blanket of translucent goo: the curtain is a paper towel. My legs are still / above my head
Glennys Egan on “Nine Months, at 34”
I’m moved by Lianne O’Hara’s poem, which captures something so many people know all too well but rarely speak openly about. She takes us along on a private journey with the speaker of the poem: the hope and excitement, the disappointment and despair. It is something so personal that is taking place (literally) inside of her, but is also somehow everywhere she looks. Finally, she ends in a position (literally) of utter vulnerability—and all we can do is hope for her, too.