Snow Day With Baby

Newspoem 25 March 2013

(after Ba)

Raging violence of white silence. Bleach sky pouring a rain of flakes. Trees sculpted into calligraphied apparitions, branching skeletal explosions. The sky falls, world upside down, flood of crystal. Treelimbs thicken into a sapsm of grasping. Collapse caught in an overexposed blur, white wakes rising from cars, curbside cans, and lamp posts. The sky has dumped hundreds of pounds on us

Neither baby nor I, really, dressed, she raises her legs above the diaper, fondles her toes, and exploits her new talent to grab the toy and put it in her mouth. The arc between hand and mouth is her country now, not mapped or understood but dominated. I amuse her by allowing her the use of my left hand as a very interesting distraction. Tiny breaths puffing with excitement, she grabs it, hits it, brings it to her mouth.

On Monkey Island, she fine-tunes some of the means of cause-and-effect through the use of the hands. Swings and swipes, accurate or not, usually strike a joy that jangles pleasantly. Her monolog is a nuanced babble. Into the ocean of language she departs from the safe harbor of crying noises, striking out compass-less toward the distant shores of speech. Her syllables, words, murmurs, and growls express contentment, discontent, and a range of unknown semantics between.

After a feeding she is content to stare and to examine my hand. She eats the Very Hungry Caterpillar, just to flatten literature into perspective. It's the end of the baby cycle, and her face rivers snot, ominous gurgling emerge from the dipe, and there is real trouble getting her to take a plastic bottle. Like the smell of impending rain, the certainty of unstoppable crying descends in the air.

Then, real tears. She’s mad again. I must accept it. Writing one-handed, writing between tantrums, changings, feedings, she can’t stop me, just add an unfamiliar aleatoric constraint. Until, that is, she learns to talk. And then it’s all over.

After, she calms herself in the crook of my arm, baby bird under my wing, in this safe nest amusing herself with whatever’s in reach, her quiet rapid breathing accelerating with passing stimuli I am not attuned to.

And she sleeps, her face a mask of petulant innocence. I may not be crying now, her frown says, but this isn’t over.


Newspoetry by William at Spineless Books