Picking a Baby

Poetry by William Doreski

A baby lies on a blanket, curled up in sleep.

Picking a baby from a litter isn’t easy. Some only speak in runes, while others rev like unmuffled engines. Some vote Libertarian, while others adhere to the Stalinist line of thought. Some wear capes, others sport dancing tights, which don’t go well with diapers. Some already use litter boxes, while others are busy inventing a better flush toilet. Some eat with a spoon, while others try to harpoon the family pet. Some are boys or girls; others reject simple binaries. Some believe the impending parent must be a god, others believe that role belongs to carnivores. Some advocate for the underdog while others believe dog should eat dog. I lean over a crib full of these little darlings and reach in with asbestos gloves. They all look up, alert as amoebas. One tries to bite; one tries to set fire to the glove. That’s the one I want, the budding arsonist. Look at how it clenches its little face, striking a spark in my heart.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Dogs Don’t Care (2022). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals. His website: williamdoreski.blogspot.com.

Photo by hessam nabavi on Unsplash

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