lithopedion:a rare phenomenon, which occurs when a fetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy and is too large to be reabsorbed by the body. It then calcifies on the outside, shielding the mother from the dead tissue of the baby and preventing infection. The "stone baby" can remain in the mother's body for decades without causing her harm.
A bleeding crack snapped open as the baby's heart cut short,
and sounded like pork crackle on a juicy tongue,
while the mother paid for groceries.
Her doctors called it lithopedion,
but the mourner did not appreciate their cunning frowns;
they were heavy, hasty, too hungry
for their scientific feast to come.
She named the rotting thing Stone Baby.
Next winter's snow blended with the grey crystal child,
and the mother transformed to an awkward spectacle;
a bump on her belly and congratulating smiles
from strangers who hadn't noticed the husband's car
being sold to the Chinese couple
a little further down the road at a good price long ago.
Stone Baby twirled further into her shell,
her eyes whitened balls in frozen, festering ice.
Swift in his withdrawal across the ocean,
the husband had flown to a waitress with smiles and curves
in the right places at the right time,
and no dead daughter calcifying inside of her to speak of.
A rock of chalk in a pool of hard stone;
the woman's failing, faltering womb,
where Stone Baby found her fortress
and lay perpetually still.
The rain drops, wretched and wicked, were pixels in gigantic
sheets; black and green surrounding the deserted backyard
where the mother stood naked, nibbling on her defeat,
as a couple passing by wondered why she rubbed
her inflated belly with pink washing gloves.
After the shower, she could hear
the slow, sneaking, sniggering clock
ticking in beat with Stone Baby's hardening retreat.
"Get her out of me," the mother pleaded by the fourth spring,
and the short men in lab coats could not help their pulses
when a surgeon called with news of a lithopedion
so evolved its brain may still be intact.
The mother lay silent in dark hours of the night before;
cradling Stone Baby with all her strength and love;
ballet shoes and birthday cakes passed through her thoughts,
as the woman changed her mind.
A nest of baby birds pip pipped in the oak outside the next morning
as the woman pulled her suitcase from deep within the closet
and placed it on her moist, moulding bed;
the crystal child had quietened down, and left her
silent enough to ignore the hospital's pleading ring ring, ring ring.
She had used her plastic money in the night,
listening to the soothing sound of swaying spring trees
as she named her stone baby April.