As if she were to bump her shin in the night 
and utter a small, audible oh,
the doctor says, “Oh,”
as in: things don’t look good, or
the baby that’s growing
there inside
is no longer the baby
there, growing. Like Whitman’s O,
O gossamer thread, O filament, filament, filament . . .
Or the Oh that comes into a room
after the wind has filled the curtains
and emptied them again. Just
Oh. What causes it? Causes
what is, not to be? Whichever O
in theology you prefer, the same way
“Sweetheart, I love the sex
but I don’t love you” equals: Oh.
Or maybe the Oh in Oh, what the hell —
it’s nothing dramatic,
not the Oh of a funeral
but of a year later,
when you simply look up from your work
and remember that she’s gone. . . . Oh,
like omission. It’s nothing
I can put my finger on, nothing
that can be grieved for or raged against —
to miscarry, to put the lame collie down,
and how many years now
since your friend passed away? So
I lose my wallet or the tip
of my index finger. With everyone else,
I’m standing on this continuum
of fairly average losses, all
supportable, shrewd blows,
O’s, zeros, noughts. An absence
of something so profound
it bears down on the soul,
                                      as if I were to take some nails
                                      and hammer them into the water — 
                                      just small nails,
                                     driven deeply.