by Molly Peacock

(Originally appeared in Original Love, 2008)

Bringing yourself up requires long hours alone
to get the nurturing others have felt.
Because of someone else, others have grown up,

so they question why your solitude has grown
so wide, and you wonder at your guilt
that simply being requires these hours alone

with your obstreperous, largely unknown
Being, who only feels and doesn’t talk,
whose matted, scaly pelt you’ve sewn

into what you hope is proper clothing, stock-
still, costumed in a darkness that never melts.
Of course you must take it out when it moans

and let it be naked and chew the bones
and hooves you save for it, after it bolts
around the room and falls, exhausted, down

into the possessed happiness of its selfhood.
This takes hours. As if holding your breath underwater,
you hold in the aboriginal child, attending to the om

society seems to breathe that you, a clone,
never seem to understand until you’re sick
from something vomiting inside its false home

and the child feels it’s done wrong although
it’s only an animal. Now you must clean up alone
or you’ll both be sick, or one of you will die.

Of course this takes the hours most spend on the phone,
making money, having kids,
or asking why you don’t.

© Copyright 2000 Molly Peacock