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After Birth

After Birth

– by Kaitlyn Neath –

baby hand

I wonder if your eyes
are her eyes
the colour of ash(es
to ashes)

and I hold
you a



Stop digging in the ground. 
The real work is done.
—-You watchful moon with paper thin edges,
stop digging in the ground;
———-you butterfly on water,
————barely touching the surface;
stop digging in the ground,
—————–you smoke of dying flame;
——————–the real work is done.
Stop digging in the ground.
————————-Open hands to circling wolf –
—————————what will you bury?
Stop digging in the ground.
Stop digging in the ground.
————————————The real work is done.


I thought I would love you still
that you would be the same
but here you are
a stranger
beneath the bulbous pouch
behind sleep hovered eyes

perhaps if you were opaque
raw and clinging to bone
organs breathing
a familiar rhythm
I would learn to love your pulse

Author Statement – Kaitlyn Neath

These poems, (Siblings, Digging, and Reflection,) are a representation of some of the intense emotions I’ve experienced over the past few years, following the stillbirth of our first daughter, Braylie. From this perspective, grief is not measurable in a period of brevity following a loss. It survives a lifetime and is reset by the most seemingly obscure circumstances, especially when ignored, or buried away. When Braylie was born, grief would often appear in strange forms, like in the eye of a new babe, or newfound shame or body image related guilt. These poems are examples of the interminable provocations of grief, its burial, and inevitable unearthing.

About the Author – Kaitlyn Neath
Kaitlyn Neath

Kaitlyn Neath is a spoken word artist and poet, currently settled into a quaint hamlet by the beautiful shores of Georgian Bay, in Grey County, Ontario. She is the new Artistic Director of the Words Aloud Festival for 2019, as well as a mother, blogger, feminist, event coordinator and occasional musician. Kaitlyn’s activist work can be found online and through social media under the moniker “Mad Lib Mom.” *The poem “Digging,” was written during a workshop with Tanya Evanson and chosen to be read during a main stage event at the 2018 Words Aloud festival.

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