What I Can’t See

By on Oct 21, 2013 in Poetry

Swing set with empty swing

I open my legs
so the doctor can
see what I can’t see—

are my eggs still good? They are
scheduled to expire
on my forty-fourth birthday,

according to statistics.
I dislike statistics. They tell me about
other people’s lives, not my own.

Since my son died, I’ve been
manufacturing hope like synthetic sugar,
ignoring the bitter aftertaste.

I use the following ingredients
for my saccharine: sex for procreation,
lottery tickets (playing his birthday and death day)

and writing poems. I know the saying
Life isn’t fair, but come on,
I’m walking through life

sideways. I can’t get the voice out of my head,
You deserve something good to happen.
Sometimes it screams at me.

But maybe it’s my perception
that’s off kilter, maybe the good already happened—
my husband, the birth of our two sons,

even Riley’s short six years.
Maybe it’s not about what I have lost
but all that I have.




Chanel Brenner is a writer living in Los Angeles with her husband and their four-year-old son. She is the winner of the First Annual Write Place At the Write Time poetry contest, judged by Ellen Bass, for her poem, “July 28th.” Her work has been published in Cultural Weekly, Foliate Oak, Forge, Memoirs Ink, Sanskrit, The Coachella Review, The Poetry Juice Bar and The Write Place At the Write Time. She studies with the poet Jack Grapes and is a member of his L.A. Poets & Writers Collective. She has written a collection of poems and essays about the death of her six-year-old son, Riley, called The Christmas Boy Will Not Disappear. It was written during the first two years of grief. Her hope is that her writing will help others heal and realize that they are not alone in their pain.