After the First Miscarriage

The first tests they held
showed two solid pink lines, but now faint, fainter

still. The digital said, simply, no.
It’s true the heart can take breaking like a bone.

This grief that formed like a callus
on their hearts knit the fractures together

hard. A hardened heart doesn’t wipe clean.
They try and try again.

A heart can break more than once, they whisper,
and when one of them sobs softly

while they make love, the other turns away.


Rhythm in the Hours

There was nothing beautiful in the sounds
that first year. Their skin chafed, scratched

at the bellies and thighs like they were trying
to make song. Making love to the melody

of dying crickets, whirs of mayfly wings.
When she woke, she took her temperature, logged

miniscule tenths of a degree changes.
Noon, she’d fish inside herself and inspect

her wet fingers for egg whites, a good stretch.
If there, they’d touch each other to the shrieks

of cicadas, sleep on opposite ends
of the bed. Silence, the ugliest sound.

Tara Mae Mulroy is the author of the full-length poetry collection Swallow, forthcoming from Kelsay Books in 2018, and the chapbooks Bye, baby Bunting, forthcoming from Etched Press in 2018, and Philomela, released from dancing girl press in 2014. Her poems, stories, and essays have been published in Third Coast, CutBank, Juked, Waccamaw, The Journal, and others found at She currently edits Nightjar Review, teaches Latin, and is writing a memoir tentatively titled Mother Monster.