Making Baby

I made a baby of lace and clay,
a girl child, a daughter.
Lovingly worked the wet earth,
crafted chubby arms and legs
and the smallest of hands.
She got my eyes, and luckily
  your nose.
Held her up to starlight,
bathed her in moonlight,
called her my own,
gave her my name,
and prayed for the breath of life
  to fill her lungs.
I have seen miracles from less,
but there were no cries.
(Perhaps if I’d offered up a rib.)
I cradled her and kissed her head,
painted her with garlic and blood,
pit-fired her for days,
a pottery face and darkened glaze,
my lack of skill apparent in her
  dull disfigured gaze,
a thing of horror and charred beauty.
My sister’s children would not play
  with her,
though she bore my name,
and I introduced her as my child,
their cousin.
Their mother averted their eyes
  in shame,
called my daughter a grotesque doll,
and left me to my lifeless issue,
my shunned offspring,
my stillborn daughter.
And in rage this father dashed
his daughter to the wall,
baby broken and no more.
And the shards bore no family

christopher.... '04

mail link to authorprevious home next audio of this poem