On confessing my pregnancy, this woman asks,
“Have you ever lost one?”

Once I stood in a rented boat
rocked calm by slow waves.
I grasped a rod and waited
for that lightning strike—
a croaker some ten feet down
biting watery squid I’d chunked onto hooks.
I spun off line until the lead weight
bounced along the muddy river bottom.
One quick hit, and I snapped
the rod back, reeling, sensing
a fight on the other end. This is it.
This is it. Just as quickly, my line slackened
to nothing.

This baby, fig-sized, prayed for,
is as unreal to me as a fish below water
where I cannot see.
My husband has painted the room where our child will live,
just as I’ve packed ice in a cooler
for a weekend we caught no fish.




Frannie McMillan’s poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Coachella Review, K’in Literary Journal, Broken Bridge, and others. She is currently at work on her first chapbook, You Ain’t By Yourself.

Frannie enjoys throwing spontaneous dinner parties, exploring historic sites with her husband, doting on her three small children, and pretending that everything in her life is going totally according to plan while stuff explodes in the background.

She serves her community and builds her faith alongside others at Staples Mill Road Baptist Church, and connects young people with books as a high school librarian. You can follow her at



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