All in by Sarah Freligh

by Sara Freligh

She was blonde and freckled—that, I remember, and how
spraddled she sat, pregnant belly ballooning
over spread legs. This from a time in my life
when I’d pocket my lunch tips and stop by a bar
where old guys argued about the batting averages
of ballplayers I’d never heard of. Pigs’ feet floated
in a clear jar and peanuts were free, TV tuned
to a talk show where the freckled blonde
said she cried whenever someone asked boy
or girl?, and if it was her first. Her baby
was dead, nothing but a dark stone in the gut
of the x-ray machine but still another month
of lugging around that coffin before she gave
birth and buried the kid. I remember the man
next to me whispered Jesus, less an expletive
than a prayer for what he’d never have
to endure, and I think of him and her
when I think about hope as a seed
of something that maybe might not be.


Sarah Freligh is the author of Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis.Recent work has appeared in the Cincinnati Review, SmokeLong Quarterlydiode, and in the anthology New Microfiction (WW Norton, 20180. Among her awards are a 2009 poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation in 2006.