The Face

He came from a burrow.
He lived underground, the nighttime gopher
nobody ever saw, whose shuteyes
dreamt of tunnels and newts
and an earth that gave and gave and moved,
and carried his blindness
and swayed
and sang.

Our experiment.

Dank and otherworldly and
deep as the Marianas Trench
where phosphors flare and scan for flesh,
his glug glug mouth holding breath for nine months
in an impossible swimmer’s feat – our fish,
the gilled one,
this “baby” not ours but

an amniotic obfuscation –
that black-and-white tv
grainy thing’s
his penis? that side view
silouette –
that could be a photo
from a pro-life flyer. That could be
any baby in the world.

It was piss on the dining room floor
not broken water so
for two more weeks
we stepped gingerly around the puddle of
misery, we squeezed slime on her guffaw-sized pear and
attached the sonic phone – “hello?” –
listening for his thump-thump voice,
our only connection to the impenetrable.

At the hospital
she bulged with something not me, not her,
I saw the alien crown
and watched the green-tipped forceps touch the few hairs,
the doctor calm but moving with calculated hands. I
felt the rising in my chest – it’s the top of a head, sure,
I saw that one coming

but his face – the wrinkled and moist eyes –
what color is that skin? Mud, reptile, slime –
a face like a father, like Yoda,
like himself. A face

that never was.

And it was as though
all the air in the world rushed in and
gathered around his face
welcoming him, tail wagging,
everybody breathing, breathing and crying and sighing
with something so large it could only be held
for that one
small moment.

About David

Prone to musing and to being prone. Father to two, writer, engineer.
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