The Second Baby Explains the Unthinkable

The Second Baby Explains the Unthinkable

The Second Baby Explains the Unthinkable


You feared that you would love my brother more.
But terribly, you would love
each new child as you love me, as you love
him, with proprioceptive
selfishness; you could grow
a new child each year like a new tender
limb budding from your body. Love does not
spread thin; it is not time,
to be allotted, not food, to be shared
until the plate is empty. That dream
in which your house grows extra rooms
to hold the books you have never written?
That is love; and like the dream
you cannot choose when it comes; you are a tangle
of ganglions and you will fire.
You are as boring as dawn:
we knew with precision that
the sun would rise at 6:44 am
and that your child
would be to you another limb,
capable of pleasure, strength, pain.
So the morning sky was clear; so my eyes
for the moment are blue; these are
incidentals of light. You are only the next
of billions to feel in your body
the shock of your baby’s first breath.
You can imagine
the dislocation of the shoulder,
your arm visibly out of true. Now think of your body
if I were taken. Think of me absent;
you take a drink of water, feel
ice against your lips. That shiver;
you would think,
no—is she cold?

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