From the Upcoming Collection

 

How to Bring the First Baby Home

 

Strap him into the torn gunmetal-gray

interior, lashed fast in his toy seat.

Notice how a car has never seemed

so made for violence. Proceed

slowly into the oncoming winter morning,

past the Catholic hospital’s entrance

where you wheeled-in that night

doubled by pain. See people walk to work

along the river, how wind wing-slaps their faces,

how they wince, but push their bodies into it.

See yourself in the young woman

wrestling sacks of dirty laundry to the curb;

a black slip pulling free, rises on the wind.

Pity or fear the woman on a bench who shakes

a fist at herself, whispers apologies

like pinched crumbs to the pigeons.

Pass the restaurant you’ll work part-time at,

cutting lemon wedges into butterflies

that light on lips of  glasses. Admit your failure

nursing the baby, his colic, the white

rime coating his tongue the doctor names

thrush which makes you think less

of yeast proffered in the mouth

of an innocent, than the eerie flute-like

whistle sung by a forest bird who won’t sing

at your window. Add up the last food stamps,

three months unpaid rent, one quit job,

the car’s engine on the verge of cardiac arrest,

the recalled cradle. For now, steer smoothly through

your first turn, though the baby has started

his high pitched panic-cry,

and you instinctively look for help.

See your own apartment rising into sight.

 

How to Bring the First Baby Home appeared in Water Stone Review

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