Near Misses and Narrow Escapes

poetry by LeAnne Hunt

Near Misses and Narrow Escapes

By fire, by fall, by drowning—

from each I was saved.

I stopped breathing, they say. 

My baby blue face

swallowed my parents’ hearts.

Their gasps—perhaps— 

restarted my lungs.

A litany of almosts.

Close calls that stopped ringing 

before I could pick up.

I suppose I dodged a bullet, sometime.

Some night I must have passed 

beside a drunk or sleeper 

hurtling metal 

along a razor strip of road.

And we did not meet.

A piece of satellite or shuttle

must have floated above my head

but stayed aloft.

Some curse from a forgotten god

dropped from the heavens

or was shot from a bow.

I sidestepped, 

but my son did not.

I survived that too.


poetry by LeAnne Hunt


My daughter asks if I love her.


To my yes, she replies

I have to love her

that it is simple biology—

that the DNA of our cells

wouldn’t let me do otherwise.


I tell her that I wouldn’t choose any other—

that I cannot imagine loving another more.

She replies that it is only because

she is all I have ever known.


I don’t remind her of her brother—

his small, sweet smile

like the honeycomb 

of an abandoned hive—

that if he hadn’t been diagnosed 

in February as futile

and delivered breathless,

her conception in July couldn’t have occurred.


His early delivery to the dark

emptied my womb and my life for her.


His silence as he slid out of my body

opened the door for her to come 

screaming into my world, 

though she decided to enter backwards,

and an exit had to be cut.


She had seemed angry to leave my watery nest

but now is furious that I try to still her wings

beating to fly away from me.


She says that of course I have to love her

that I don’t know any other way.

She blames me, she says, for her father

that she never asked to be born.

She never had a choice.


I don’t tell her neither did I.

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LeAnne Hunt

LeAnne Hunt (she/her) grew up in the Midwest and now lives in Orange County, California. She is a regular at the Two Idiots Peddling Poetry reading at the Ugly Mug in Orange. She has poems published in Black Napkin Press, Rabid Oak, and Lullaby of Teeth: An Anthology of Southern California Poets. She publishes a blog of writing prompts at