The clock’s plain face
timed the torment.
The midwife’s mouth moved
but made no sound.
Your father’s encouragement
a distant bell clanging.

That minute was only
the pain the clock the tearing breath
the singular shock
of letting you go.


Elaine Handley is a poet and fiction writer who lives in Middle Grove, NY.  She is also a professor of English at SUNY Empire State College. Currently, she is completing an historical novel, Deep River, about the underground railroad, and an ekphrastic poetry project. Her latest poetry chapbook is Letters to My Migraine.




One thought on “5:20

  1. I love it – I can envision a scene from a movie – all from Mom’s perspective – slow motion – all sound outside of breathing garbled – what a picture – it’s great!


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