Cameron Morse taught and studied in China. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014, he is currently a third-year MFA candidate at UMKC and lives with his wife, Lili, in Blue Springs, Missouri. His poems have been or will be published in over 50 different magazines, including New Letters, Pamplemousse, Fourth & Sycamore and TYPO. His first collection, Fall Risk, is forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press.
Centerpoint Medical Center: lower conference room
A nurse shoves the head of her infant into a hinge
of hip bones, the pelvis in her hands
spring-loaded, the mouth
of a bear trap.
Demonstrating descent, she jams its rubber head
into the jaws and it crowns,
the way we are born, every one of us, slipping
bloody into the light of this world.
I machine wash cold the onesies
for my unborn son, wash and dry
inside out the dinosaur onesie,
the I’m one in a chameleon onesie,
the one with monsters, the one
with bears. I wash with like colors,
pouring cups of hypoallergenic baby
detergent, folding feathers for flight,
outfits for the go-bag. Outside,
September morning air runs
its gentlest cycle around cul-de-sac,
machine-wash-cold as the catheter
that stabs contrast into my arm
during brain scans, a dye that inflames
red clouds upon my scalp and bee-
stings my side because I am allergic.
When my phone rings, startling
a flight of doves, coos rise
into the branches of the oak tree:
An automated reminder
of tomorrow morning’s appointmen
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
Lili and I sit in the waiting room
of the Independence Women’s Clinic,
nurses calling Brooklyn, Hannah,
Diana, Li. In the exam room, my wife
keeps her eyes closed as the needle
goes in again and again. She does not
wince. Her toes lift as if she’s having
an orgasm. Pregnant with our firstborn
son, she may have gestational diabetes.
She may be in danger of miscarriage.
The only service I provide is I hold her
purse. I watch the window light
crest upon her face, a smattering of cirri
adrift among the yellow icosahedrons
of the Pepperwood Apartments.
The platinum blond phlebotomist in hot
pink scrubs reaches for another vial
to load the vacutainer: another vial,
another swab, another black blot of blood.