how dumb we must have sounded
then, with the sonographer.

“What a lot of room in there!”
and – “Will you print us a copy?”
and – “When is the revised due date?”
and – “It’s beautiful …”

not knowing
it wasn’t supposed to be hide-and-seek.

scanning the darkness we were told was fluid –
angle after angle,
gray shapes coalescing and dissolving
(“Where are you?” in a sing-song voice) –
seemed a part of the mystery
as we leaned forward, expectant,
awaiting a revelation.

“I think –” and “I think –”
finally we had to say,
“So that is our baby?”
a thoughtful nod
flooded us with recognition.

out of the whole black space –

a tiny, silent, perfect ring of light.
inside, like the color of a glass marble,
a twist of gray,
and along the circumference
little points of brilliance,
newborn stars on a nebula’s edge,
delicate and still.

we’d seen glacial mountains, caribbean reefs,
but nothing as perfect as you.

“It’s beautiful …”

those were the words that
prompted the sonographer
to direct our attention to certain consequential facts –
you were two weeks smaller than the placenta
no bloodflow was reaching you through the umbilical cord
in fact, you had no

you left us then
to take your place in the darkness
words cannot fill.

at least –

I’m glad we got to see you.
some parents never do.

and as dumb as we must have sounded
then, with the sonographer,
I’m glad we said you were beautiful,
because you were..



copyright © 2004, michael w. hobson


3 Responses to “beheld”

  1. Marta Says:

    This is so tender and touching. There is nothing dumb or more beautiful than a father’s love. God bless.

  2. Carmen Says:

    This poem is beautifully written, though so very sad. The outcome became obvious about two thirds down. And I must tell you I was in tears. Your utilization and economy of words is excellent. I found your reference to “scanning the darkness” when looking into the sonograph to be an interesting parallel to the end: “you left us then to take your place in the darkness.” Excellent work. Glad I stopped by.

  3. Jim Says:

    I often wonder if we will get to see our fallen ones in heaven. I suppose the reality of it is that they are taken from us to add some type of cosmic balance or for some other reason, but part of me takes some comfort in believing that God keeps these souls for us. Holding them for our reward. Yeah, I know that’s a pipe dream. But it sure would make a great heaven. Imagine the day of your death is the day of Bean’s birth. It obviously wouldn’t be that simple, but I don’t think you have seen Bean for the last time with that sonographer.

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