The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


January Pearson



The doctor glides the cool wand
in slow circles until she finds the heartbeat
tapping like a cherry branch
against the kitchen window.

Lying in bed that night,
my husband’s ear to my belly,
we could only hear the ceiling fan’s hum.
If we were owls, he tells me,
we could hear her.
I imagine mice prints in the snow.

I read that the ear perceives sound
when something vibrates,
tiny bones rattling,
liquid filling a snail-shaped cup,
so that the liquid and bones chime.
When bones refuse to move,
no sound lights up the brain.

On our third visit, she lifts the wand
from my skin. It clinks
the metal tray in her lap.
When I see her mouth say,
I can’t find the heartbeat,
I feel the shape of emptiness,
lying there in my white paper dress,
the screen blinking silently,
filling with snow.




JANUARY PEARSON lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters. She teaches in the English department at Kaplan University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine, Atlanta Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Watershed Review, Summerset Review, Four Chambers Press, Timberline Review, The Chiron, The Mockingheart Review, and Modern Haiku.



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