RONNIE AT 15
So a child is having a child.
The baby will confuse
its mother for its sister.
On the sidewalk,
in the supermarket,
they’ll be pointed at
Is it her fault for having a uterus
just like women twice her age.
Yes, it will be a struggle to
support the two of them.
She’s never had a job,
hasn’t even finished high school.
And there’ll be no sweet sixteen birthday party.
She’s already fatter than a cake.
No guys lining up at her door either.
They want no one getting the wrong idea.
She sits in an overstuffed chair,
feels her little one kicking inside her.
Boy or girl, the child has no idea
that so many opinions have
already been formed.
Her mother is crestfallen.
Her father is ashamed.
Her sister thinks the situation is hilarious.
Nothing’s been explained to her younger brother.
They’re a family of five,
soon to be six.
Her doctor says
mother and baby are in good health.
For all the talk, the chatter,
he’s the first to put it like that.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident (Providence RI). Recently published in That, Dalhousie Review and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Qwerty, Chronogram and failbetter.