Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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What Our Son’s Birth Has Taught Us

If nothing else, how bad we are at cleaning out the fridge.
That bowl of grape Jell-O mummified with cling wrap
is not just old. It’s older than a six-month-old.

Dijon expired on my due date, wonton wrappers the week before.
We both have a habit of boxing up leftovers
intending for the other to eat them. Open our fridge and

behold our Tupperware Empire!
A point of wry pride for him, humiliation for me.
Inside each cloistered little world

islands of mold germinate. Continents of mold
merge to form supercontinents
till we’re left a macabre guessing game. It’s the inverse

of how time shapes our son’s expressive jowls
lacquered with drool and his sparse but promising
hair like raked sand. Then there’s the tooth

I hate and love, and hate that I love
because it’s bruised his gums and ruined sleep
for us all. But I do love to track its daily

progress. It crushes upward through ligament and bone
to reach his small cut of our world—
what we’ve promised, what he’s owed

—the last thing we imagined we’d have to give up.  

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