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Poetry by Bernadette Martonik

Clear Blue Easy

That Clearblue commercial,

that divining rod ad,

that exhibition 

of a fortune telling

pregnancy pee stick,


sticks in me,

sings a sting in me.

It vibrates on skin frequency.


Before, it was Clearblue Easy,

straightforward and serene.


Now, on the screen, anticipatory music, 

a few notes repeating

over and over,


to show us,

as gentle rain taps

the next nine months,

a pleasant,                                                   



              certainly not a series of 

              progressively worse phone calls

              and tests


              the music ends.


But let’s say all goes well.

The music crescendos:


In the commercial 

women scream, 

and hug, 

and cry tears of joy.

A man wearing a goofy grin asks,


before taking the clear



stick in his hand, 

The magic wand that will make his

life complete,


and rolls over on the floor

still smiling,

into his wife’s arms.


I’ve watched it a hundred times.

The algorithm gods

tracked sperm and egg

until disaster ensued,

but the show kept running.


I’ve watched a hundred children,

a hundred answers

to a hundred prayers,

little miracle


sweet skin and coo song.                 

They grow into children,


and then adults

who wander the earth with the

rest of us long past the time

when their simple existence

caused tears of joy,

spontaneous embraces,


rolling over at the mystery of

it all.

Bernadette Martonik writes essays on her family's darkest secrets, stories about unicorns, and poetry on everything in between. She lives in Seattle with her husband and their dog, Bandit. You can find her on Twitter @BernadetteMarto and Instagram @sisterstonic.

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