Neonatal Mornings

by Fernando Pérez



            After Jennifer Givhan



When the newly born fall out

[in a field] from buckets.


When newborns learn that buckets are beds,

that bedroom snoring is legal.


You are always living


[off the hook, dial-toned]


when living, you are a bird




stiff as a board,

light as a middle finger.


When placenta is dumped, regurgitated

inside bird nests to feed open mouths.


When a child is straightened into a branch.


The woods outside don’t know

they have become

the whispering of a child’s back.


The cobalt mask of fetal limbs.

Ointments boring their skin.


In a field kale leaves shiver like grasshoppers

when the newly born wipe away each other’s marks.

A child’s soft smoke lifts from short grass.