After Reading Denise Duhamel's Poem "Lines"

By Amy J. Kitchell-Leighty


Duhamel’s husband tells her on their first date about hand
lines, the ones on the underside of her pinky, which tell how many

children she’ll have. I’m afraid I’ve used up my two lines:
one to a vacuum, one to a drain. We spent a very short

time together—seven weeks at most—each floating, weightless
in my uterus as they tried to decide. I say tried to decide

because Aunt Shirley firmly believes a soul
chooses to live, abort, or die. I’m reminded

of a book I read in high school: a title I can’t recall, kept
in my bookcase headboard. About a psychiatrist who hypnotized

her patients to learn of their past lives. The book scared
me at times; I sweated and cried through tragic recounts

by people who had lived so many lives. For some reason,
I couldn’t put the book down. I read one entry (life)

every night, until I came to a lady who murdered her own
child in the past. I threw the book away after that. I’m not sure

if I believed her patients, or if I believe in reincarnation. Yet I always
thought Aunt Shirley was right: that a soul chooses to live or die. But

as I sit by an open window and watch the neighborhood children
play among piles of dead leaves, under bare trees, I think

I may be wrong, wrong to believe.

 

Amy J. Kitchell-Leighty was recently published in The Great American Poetry Show, White Pelican Review, and All Things Girl. She graduated this June from Bennington College¹s Writing Seminars with an MFA in poetry.

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