"This," she says, "you have to see."
She crouches before her refrigerator
and among the photos held up by magnets
(including one of Nan and me)
a strip of black-and-whites that shows
a looming alien head, bowed towards its chest
as if in solemn concentration.
"It"—since they don't want to know
the sex. So one magnet says Aaron
and the other says Charlotte—
our grandchild Aaron/Charlotte!—
and I'm staring at her mass of wavy hair
as she crouches in front of the nebula
of her approaching child, the features
like clouds. She knows about sonograms
from her training as a nurse. "In theory ... "
She holds her fingers as far apart
as you would to measure out, say,
half a loaf. ''And he's a squirmer.
Or she. Must take after Mom.
Not me." Then she's off to work
the graveyard shift at the hospital.
She stands sideways so I can see
the arc of her stomach where it's swimming
in darkness, in silence—all anticipation
and no memory?—while I'm all memory:
the clatter when she dropped her schoolbag,
the angry outbursts, the sobs, the singing,
the escape to the piano, the storms of chords ...
Walking home, I try to imagine her
stationed in her flowered smock,
on the locked ward, her patients
sleeping, her desk lamp lighting
her reports, her thoughts
blooming, the hallway
before her pinging with silence ...
It's like waiting for a storm—
a really big one—not even named yet—
one that could last
the rest of her life.