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Expecting

(1998)


from the Song Cycle "Seven For Luck"


Music by John Williams
Lyrics by Rita Dove


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Expecting
no recording available

Lyrics

Expecting

Everything's a metaphor, some wise
guy said, and his woman nodded wisely.
Why was this such a discovery to him?
She's watched an embryo track an arc
across her swollen belly from the inside.
She knew she'd better not think
tumor or burrowing mole, lest it emerge
a monster. Each craving marks the soul:
splashed white dish of ice cream, coveted,
or a pickle! Every wish will find
its symbol, the woman thinks.

The conspiracy's to make us thin. Size threes are all
the rage, and skirts ballooning above twinkling knees
are every man-child's preadolescent dream.
Tabula rasa. No slate's that clean-

we've earned our navels sunk in grief,
our muscles say We've been used.

Have you ever tried silk sheets? I did
persuaded by postnatal dread
and a Macy's clerk to bargain for more zip.
We couldn't hang on and slipped
to the floor, by morning the guilt
slid off, too. Enough of guilt!
It's hard work staying cool.


MH