The next day a surgeon removed my lentil-sized embryo and the fallopian tube it was stuck in. Left to grow, the embryo I wanted so badly to be my first child would have killed me. As a person of Indian descent, I’m familiar with lentils of many kinds and all sizes: fresh, dried, whole, split. Even now, ten years later, when I wash lentils, I pinch the thin discs between my fingers and marvel that the tiny potential of a person can be packed into such a small package.
What God Is Honored Here? is a collection of writings by Indigenous women and women of color on pregnancy and infant loss — the first ever. It is an honor, indeed, to have my essay, Binding Signs, included. The title is from a Lucille Clifton poem, a poem that reminds me of one I rely on often, by Aracelis Girmay, to the sea.
Everyone knows someone who has lost a pregnancy or an infant. The only thing that’s shocking is how little we talk about something so common, but that sort of silence — its violence — is bound into the meaning of the collection. Just like racism, sexual assault, and so much else unspoken in our society. This book part of the power of confronting that silence head-on, directly, refusing to shush or shy away from that which is hard, complicated and provokes ambivalence. This collection is offers a fierce and visionary solidarity – of many experiences, rightly their own, bound together. Whatever I think about God and honor – I do still believe in the power and solidarity that comes from speaking plainly, and from that – and my own unexpected happiness – I remain loudly optimistic.