Trembling, I enter the cloth room,
a voyeur, a student, a witness.
There, on the screen, very clear now that
I’d seen so many,
a silhouette, shades of gray.
My eyes linger on the face – apple cheeks.
I search for the heart –
silent, still.  The whole screen,
The resident moves the wand and the same
image flickers on screen,
still motionless.
No place to look but at the screen.
I can’t witness the fear and confusion
in the parent’s face that mirrors my own.
“When was the last time you felt the baby
asks the resident, eyes fixed on the screen.
“Early this morning, about 2 a.m.”
“I’m sorry to ask, but your records
say you’ve used drugs in the past.  Did you
use any yesterday?”
A whispered, “No.”
The records show four days to term.
The resident moves the wand,
aimlessly, in vain.
“Honey, I’m sorry, your baby is dead.”
The father lowers his head and begins to sob.
The mother lies there,

Valerie Arango, Class of 2000