Poor Your Soul
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Poor Your Soul—moving, wise, and passionately written—is a beautiful reflection on sexuality, free will, and the fierce bonds of family.
At twenty-eight, Mira Ptacin discovered she was pregnant. Though it was unplanned, she embraced the idea of starting a family and became engaged to Andrew, the father. Five months later, an ultrasound revealed that her child would be born with a constellation of birth defects and no chance of survival outside the womb. Mira was given three options: terminate the pregnancy, induce early delivery, or wait and inevitably miscarry.
Mira’s story is paired with that of her mother, who emigrated from Poland to the United States, and who also experienced grievous loss when her only son was killed by a drunk driver. These deftly interwoven stories offer a picture of mother and daughter finding strength in themselves and each other in the face of tragedy.
From the Hardcover edition.
alone. With this hollow rectangle of white-painted wood, I’ve created isolation, solitude. This is all I want. Lately, I don’t want to be seen, especially not like this. I don’t want my husband to see my skin. Skin provokes primal urges in humans, urges that, unlike my newlywed husband, I am not having. Naked invites sex, and I don’t want to initiate anything. Whenever I start to entertain the notion of sex, I just get tired. I just want to sleep. So it’s out of the question. He should realize
Nicole?” I asked. Dad put down his silverware and blew out a long trail of breath. “Oh, Nicole,” he said without looking up. “She’s one of my patients.” “And is driving your Daddy down the wall,” Mom added. “It’s ‘up the wall,’” Sabina chimed. “Nicole’s been coming to my office since she was a little baby,” he said, “but I hadn’t seen her in years until she came in for a prenatal exam.” Mom interjected, “She thinks she’s Mary, Mother of God.” Dad sighed again. “Nicole’s a bit dramatic.”
so vulnerable, and valuable as a human baby. The world had always been my china shop. But with my dog, I could do no wrong. When I met Andrew, I met Maybe and became her Superwoman. She quickly became my furry little sidekick. She was like my child—she needed my care and protection. She was an orphan, she needed my love. And so the three of us—Andrew, Maybe, and I—became a perfect triangle. To me, it was as good as it could get. I didn’t need a thing more. But then more came. A baby? How could
You wouldn’t know, I think. So shut up. The nurse explains to him where I have to be tomorrow and at what time; when to stop eating, and when I can have my last glass of water (nine o’clock tonight). And then we are left alone. I roll over onto my side and just stay there for a second. The sun is pulsating from behind the shades, and when I think about going back outside, my heart begins to harden. Then, using my arms, I push myself up like my yoga instructor always told us to do after corpse
clapping, and before we even reached the field, Mom stopped, dropped our arms, turned around to face the crowd, and waved both hands at them triumphantly. We weren’t even halfway there, but she just turned and started waving. Her entire body. She looked so strong, the way she addressed the faces in the bleachers with her entire body. It was as if she was conducting whatever love they had inside of them. As if she was thanking the world for its love, thanking the world for us, and for her own