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Crossing Harvard Yard

By Olga Karman

Speck of life
how deep you burrowed all fall.
Well into December
you nudged and fluttered,
you made known the outline
of a tiny fist or foot
while Professor Finley
lectured on the Iliad.

Achilles' choice, he said, is ours.
Which one shall it be – the long inglorious life
or the brief but luminous hero's path?

Bundled up, I made my way home
a little off balance
weighed down with you and my briefcase
wondering what would became of me now.
Gravida, I said under my breath, gravida.
And a delicate push from within
gentle as a shower of petals
in a spring orchard
weakened me with awe.

Is there a different glory
in yielding to another's life,
I wanted to ask, and will I know
when I see you crown
in the doctor's high mirror
when I hear you break into the day
with your first cry for air?

Contributor's Note: OLGA KARMAN will join poet, playwright and actor Lorna C. Hill and poet Rachel Robles Saeger at this month's Just Buffalo Literary Café at the Center for Inquiry, 1310 Sweet Home Road in Amherst. A poet, memoirist and fiction writer, she was a professor of Spanish language and literature for more than two decades at D'Youville College and served as the college's director of community affairs. Her poetry collections include "Adios" and "Border Crossings." In 1997, she returned to visit Cuba after 37 years. While there she gathered material for her much-praised memoir "Scatter My Ashes Over Havana" (2006) and her fiction collection "A Woman of Some Years" (2010).

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