Is It Still Kidnapping?
We are not the babies, but the babies have detained us. For questioning perhaps. As we might wish to question them. That makes this somehow different from a dream about the babies. In a dream, the babies might wear our faces and ask all the right questions and look so cute and cuddly with our faces pasted on their plump little bodies and then such a happiness exploding, oh death, and then they die, and it’s not so sad because we know it’s a dream with our faces living in it like that.
But these babies did not die and this is not a dream and the sheep move across the hillsides like guided clouds bringing mutton and fleas and wool and bones and no rest at all from the babies’ continuing interrogation in the hayloft of the wet stinking abandoned barn. Because in life dreams persist even if in dreams life does not.
“If your head is not like unto the grave of a child, then how do you explain these thoughts?”
The baby’s boat is small, but my eye is tender. I do not speak because I do not understand the question. Nor do I know who has asked it.
“Is it true you imagined writing a poem on the baby’s head?”
For a long time I have been crying, but the baby does not know this. Now my silence signs a confession. Babies know how to listen while they are crying. And babies know the truth must appear before the answer.
The mutton tastes heavenly but the bones hurt. The baby will not let me sleep.
An owl calls from the rafters. The owl is the same size as the baby and for the moment I am in this world, which gives me a rest from my own.
By the time the babies get to you, you know all the answers. It’s their questions that surprise you.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.