BY EMILY MOHN-SLATE
A woman forgot her baby in the park. People found it
murmuring in the bushes, called it Fairy.
I want to keep sleeping when his yell slices twilight —
not feed the baby, whose appetite is unfeeling, total.
The baby grunts, spits — I want to be alone,
but it would be good for me to go out with the baby.
If I keep walking, he keeps sleeping.
A woman at the park’s edge holds honey petals
to her nose, breathes them the way I breathe
the baby’s furry head. A woman left her baby in the car,
rushed to work — her baby overheated & died.
I forget things so often now. I never forget my glasses.
It would be so easy to forget the baby.
Old bikes lie on porches, washed in yellow light,
exhausted. I hover two fingers above
his chest, search for breath. I love to hear
the baby’s slight gasp when I turn on a light —
I study his open mouth, flick the light on
& off & on until I can’t. I forgot my keys,
my jacket. A woman drove off with her baby on the roof
of her car. Did I fasten the buckle around
the baby’s soft waist? I didn't want to come out today,
but it is good to smell the oily pizza boxes at Pino's,
to dodge the garbage truck lumbering
down Hastings Street, men hanging on by a tiny crescent.
They found her baby at 45th and Cholla
on the highway line, alive, not even crying.
I had a hat once that I loved, red and blue wool.
I lost & found it in a Shaw’s parking lot, mashed down,
brown with exhaust. I washed it by hand,
hung it up to dry. The baby licks the stroller harness,
wets the rip proof vinyl to a deeper red.
Emily Mohn-Slate's recent poems can be found in The Pinch, Poet Lore, Indiana Review, Free State Review, HEArt Journal Online. She was the runner-up for the 2014 Indiana Review Poetry Prize. She holds an MFA from Bennington College, and teaches writing at Carnegie Mellon University. She can be found at www.emilymohnslate.com.
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