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

 

[flat-lined]

 

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.