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