"Some Human Incident" by Catherine Wing

After the baby we knew more, knew
Better, saw Kafka in the grillwork. An end to the
Cockleshell days, madeleines, pearlstones,
Duded up nights on the town. Hello Un–
Easy, dream barriers, briars in the cornstartch.
Foxholes appeared in the garden.
Genies went jitterbug, even the
Hawthorn was frantic. 70% of our town was
Inflammable, the rest ready as tinder.
Just as the bloom field was about to blow,
Ketchup catching on as a vegetable, the baby
Left, struck out for paradise on his own, with Teddy
Mounted in a bag on a stick.
Next, please, we shouted after him, but felt empty.
Oh, the deserts were just: a hollow
Palazzo, eggshells on the loudspeaker,
Queer baby ghosts that hovered at the periphery.
Right was wrong ever after.
Still, we thought he might come back
To us. We kept his room going,
Underscored his name on the mailbox.
Virtually every night we ate his favorite foods–
Weiner-schnitzel and sauerkraut. Eventually
X replaced Y. We became him. We were where he got to.
You wouldn’t understand. We don’t. There’s
Zip in the literature and we’ve looked it up.

"Some Human Incident" from Enter Invisible by Catherine Wing. Copyright © 2005 by Catherine Wing. Used by permission of Sarabande Books.