The Blessingway: A Poem

blessingway hair

The Blessingway

After the blessingway
roses fall from my hair
white and pink – in each room of the house.

We dreamt of this as girls:
flowers braided into our hair.

The artist paints with henna
on my swollen belly:
roses and dragonfly
my skin loose this second time.

My daughter is dying inside me
her heartbeat strong inside me
where she is safe until labor

my womb the sacred space
between worlds: dark and light
contracting for 21 days.

All that, to hold her for a moment,
her broken heart and defects
body limp in my embrace, her blue eyes

and me in this pool as it fills with blood.
I hold her to me and whisper We love you
We love you, We’ll always love you.

Go, I say, do your work, Sweet Baby.
The placenta is birthed and she slips away
so quietly I can’t know the exact moment.

I carry her body wrapped in a blanket with pink roses
for hours, hungry and exhausted, I don’t leave her
until that moment, the coffin on my bed.

Mother and I dress her in her christening gown
and lay her down, arms stiffening
body cooling…

The Master asks What now, Strong Woman?
Then answers Your milk will come in. You will awaken
for weeks listening for cries never made.

And the child? I reply The daughter?
The one I longed for for decades?
She does not desire one drop of your milk.

With the angels I still weep and cry
Holy, Holy…


Photo Credit: Sindy Strosahl


Author: Dianna

DIANNA VAGIANOS ARMENTROUT is a published writer, teacher, workshop facilitator and poetry therapist. She graduated from Adelphi University’s Honors Program and earned her MAW from Manhattanville College. Dianna’s pregnancy with her daughter, Mary Rose, who died an hour after birth of trisomy 18, changed her life completely. Her blog, Walking the Labyrinth of My Heart, was launched in April 2015 as a way of offering support to others going through pregnancies with life-limiting and fatal diagnoses.

2 thoughts on “The Blessingway: A Poem”

  1. The waves bow down before you
    and the trees extend their arms
    to shield you from the heat
    and lay their leaves before you on the ground
    that you may walk in softness.
    ~ Urtext ❤️

    I am bowed down in utter awe as you usher us into the unimaginable- with such grace!

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