You shift the doppler over the abdominal swell,


You can’t hear baby because

Because you’re not trained.

You’re still a student;

No heart tones means no skill.

You press in,

Soft variants on a musical theme.

80, 94, 100, 98.

Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.

“Is that him?” the mother asks,

“I haven’t felt him move since the pain last night.”

You’re not sure, you’re not sure.

You drag the doppler along a wide curve,

The feedback a soft roar.

And it’s not there.

It’s not there, either.

You can’t hear it, and you’re a student.

You must be, right now.

She turns, smiles,

Hands at her sides like relaxed wings.

Her pregnant belly,

Once a nurturing nest,

A warm womb,

(You’re not sure, you’re not sure)

Now a tenable tomb.

You smile back and tell her

“I’m going to find someone much smarter than me,”

You shut the door.

It makes the sound of finality;

You try not to listen.

You know better than to try and wake the dead.

Megan Maier is a third-year medical student at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine. She has a BS in Biology and a BA in English from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She enjoys reading Haruki Murakami, purchasing too many Moleskine journals, and playing with her two Yorkshire Terriers.