At the Birth of a Third Daughter, on the Eve of World War, |
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At the Birth of a Third Daughter, on the Eve of World War,

Honorable Mention – 2020 Poetry Contest

At the birth of a third daughter, on the eve of world war,
my grandfather refused to look at her
or come in from the barn.
In that old country, deep
within my newborn mother,
in my invisible ovary home,
I must have learned
that hope is complicated.
Did my someday-son learn it too,
when the New World obstetrician
strapped my braided mother
down, told her shut up,
cut the pulsing umbilical cord
and slapped me into air?
America was in Vietnam,
wars at home, Silent Spring
took the world by storm
and soon, I was marching for peace
in the arms of a loving father.
I must have learned that hope
is not for the fainthearted.
The summer I turned 50 and my child
became a teen, wildfires burned
where they hadn’t burned before,
schools were locked down, seas
were rising up, crops
were under water, waves
of mothers flooded borders,
while along the corded
trumpet vine in the garden,
planted by you the year
our son was born in the bed upstairs,
ruby-throated hummingbirds
returned to a fanfare
of open-throated flowers—
the whirring birds small as ovaries
braved storms, seas, borders
for this plaited sweet
perennial pulsing: Nectar!


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Ingrid Andersson’s poems have been nominated for Best of the Net (2020) and a Pushcart Prize (2018). In 2019 she received an Editor’s Choice Prize from Eastern Iowa Review, and her work has appeared in Midwest Review and Minerva Rising, among other publications.

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