For the Only Baby Girl to Ever Grace the Greater Boston Metro Area

When I say I gave you life,

I mean I gave you mine,

all of it, everything

I had and used to be

and got an apartment on a street

I used to call boring,

in a building that smelled

like Dove soap. The women

downstairs played loud

Jackson 5 hits at midnight

so I walked out holding you,

both of us naked,

and when that

didn’t work, I called

the fucking cops. I gained

thirty-five pounds

on anti-depressants, sought

out the kind of men I used to

call pussies. I took cardboard

boxes to the curb

on Tuesdays, and I

always brushed my teeth

with the medium-soft bristles.

I went back to college,

held my lips to your

powdered belly, so I could tell

the Head Start nurse we got

skin time. You smelled

like your own shit,

and caught a cold outside

in that freak storm in Davis.

Your nose dripped like our pipes.

Everybody used to

give us seats on the T

not out of kindness, but more

so you wouldn’t sneeze on them,

and even strangers used to say

how brave, but they meant

please don’t burden us

with the details. Smile.

Tell the world you’re grateful.

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