the captivity of babies…


Owen holds the newborn and the 2 year old


The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, November 10, 201

On the Captivity of Babies 
by Margaret Hasse

Now that winter’s halfway here,

leaves swirl coldly
and babies aren’t seen much

except in the captivity of nurseries

lumbering with their hands
drawn into roses.

Babies are unto themselves,

a little sub-culture, none of whom suspects

how many other babies are being held

all over the world.

Babies escape slowly

from the little pens, the seatbelts,

the restraining arms.

It’s brilliant. Few notice

how tricky babies are.

On occasion, an aunt might fix
 a BB sharp eye on the little one,

and fire, “My how you’ve grown!”

The escaping baby feels very uncomfortable.

Babies enter the world impeccable and wise.

They leave their little prisons,

put nakedness in abeyance,

take on the clothes of the world,

spend a long time trying to locate

a perfect love

that resembles their first.
From time to time, they achieve glimpses.

As when an aging baby

late for a business appointment

sits dreamily in his car,

cigarette’s blue smoke

lingering in curlicues.

Before him a large leaf

shoved by the windshield wipers, is waving.

Or when a woman who has never run

to breathlessness, does so.

Amazed she does not burst,

she draws in large packages of air,

thinks of air as the new blood.
“On the Captivitiy of Babies” by Margaret Hasse from Stars Above, Stars Below © Nodin Press, 2018. Reprinted with permission

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