Ross’s Eyes: My Child Is Too My Child

          "Your children are not your children."—Kahlil Gibran

That week I'd storm down corridors in my mother's-milky
gauze robe, an angel's gown with a hot mammalian smell,
and stop short
at the nursery where you'd been called
"small: but not TOO small." There was a baby
web-footed like a cygnet, and piglet babies
with steel cords whipping from their pink trotters,
monitors clamped to chest and brain.
Space age Tom Thumbs blew out dolly cheeks,
sucked on petal thumbs.
They looked about them with dark blue eyes
whose newborn fogginess
was daily dispelling. I'd spot you
and sit beside you, ticking with love, purple heart
on sleeve. Drakes of black curls
clung about your skull, elegant, elongate.

Crammed with butterfat, swilling fast and loose,
you'd look up. Forcemeat heart
on fire, my goosey stare
crossed yours. The starry eyeball
never faltered, looked back long and strong.
I was bulldogged by your eyes
and could only think weakly
of the Gene Vincent rocker:
Be Bop-A-Lula: he's
my baby now, my baby now, my baby now.

—Margaret Benbow