What I Keep

Melissa Fournier ~

Inked footprints on paper
a one-ounce trial size
   of Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash
   one-quarter gone
a striped receiving blanket and knit hat
   folded inside a clear plastic bag
   zipped to preserve her scent
a vial of holy water
   one-third gone
a dried white rose entwined with baby’s breath
two hospital bracelets
one sonogram picture at seven weeks
three sonogram pictures at twenty weeks
a urine-imbued double-pink-lined stick
   which I hold like proof
   the way Thomas held out his blood-
   and-water-soaked finger
   after removing it from Christ’s
   pierced side

About the poet:

Melissa Fournier is a perinatal and pediatric hospice social worker, and program director of a nonprofit bereavement center in Traverse City, MI. Her poetry has appeared in Dunes Review and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and she received the 2013 William J. Shaw Prize for Poetry awarded by Michigan Writers, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping local writers hone their craft and publish their work. She also facilitates Writing Through Loss, a therapeutic writing program for individuals grieving the death of a loved one.

About the poem:

“This poem was inspired by my disbelief over the death of my daughter, Camille Grace, born on the very edge of viability and held for the entirety of her ninety-minute life. Yes, she was here, and she is risen.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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4 thoughts on “What I Keep”

  1. Reread this poem 3 times in disbelief until finally it sunk in. Thought maybe I was missing something, then realized it was the author, missing her daughter. My tears for you and the memory of baby Camille. And sending prayers for you and your angel baby.

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