Billiekai Boughton


She called me crying
her halting breath drum beats in the speaker

I speak smooth and slow
calm her with soft tones of my voice
try to sound like warm towels out of the dryer
what’s wrong honey
tell her to take a deep breath

her lungs rattle unevenly as she draws in the air
like out of rhythm maracas
my knuckles tighten around the phone
ready myself for what news may come

the words cannon out of her
yanks a torrent of more tears with it
I’m pregnant
she can’t stop crying

quietly I exhale
loosen my grip
know this is something she can handle
we can do

we are women
we gather our country under the innocent excuse of picking a name
we create a nation in brown wicker bassinettes
bring together men in times of war
and times of peace
to hear the first magic jingle of Da Da
we create community by accident
where unlikely combinations of parents unite
in a nursery or
a grocery store diaper isle

women heal the wounds of nation
by bearing our bellies
eating pickles at midnight
crocheting blankets with hope
and weaving our dreams into birth

I tell her don’t cry
babies are not calamities
god invites women to miracles first hand
first belly
dances in their womb
and delivers one more chance
for change

~ Billiekai Boughton © 2011

Billiekai Boughton is a U.S. Army veteran and the chair of the SDVC Women’s Network. Boughton is a graduate of the University of San Diego, where she obtained her master’s degree in Leadership. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis in 16th Century Literature, and Contemporary Poetry, from the University of California, Berkeley (Go, Bears!). Boughton was a Student Teacher Poet for June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley, has poems published in numerous anthologies, and has had two chapbooks published. She volunteers teaching poetry writing workshops, editing the veteran’s section of the San Diego Poetry Annual, as a life coach, mentor, and as a veteran advocate. Because of Boughton’s service to the veteran community, she was honored as UC San Diego’s Veteran of the Year twice (2013 and 2010) and also as the 2014 California District 79 Veteran of the Year.

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