From ‘Mz N: the serial’// Mz N Baby

Maureen N. McLane

One day her sister
asked Mz N
to have her baby.
This was intriguing
this was frightening
as there had been no babies
come thru her
& to have a baby
not her baby
seemed a strong hard thing
to split the body for.
Shitting
a pumpkin
is what a friend
of Shulamith Firestone
said in the late 1960s
it was like.
This birth thing
This birthing
The midwives
were gathering
a sharp-eyed coven prepared
to elbow out
the doctors who after all
have long done harm
as much as not.
Mz N’s sister
didn’t quite ask her
It was more a raising
of the question.
All that summer
she thought
along a country road
about this thing.
Not to the future
but the fuchsia
she thought eyeing
the dicentra and misremembering
Gertrude Stein.
Not the past
but the last possible thing
Isn’t it strange to think
I have a dick
in me the pregnant teen said
to her dismayed dad
in a short story.
More stories
these days embrace babies.
Before
they were there
more as ghost cries.
There he goes crowing
sd Gertrude Stein
of Hemingway
about the birth of his son
as if a million men
every day
weren’t fathers.
She had a point
but still.
That little baby
is Bumby
in A Moveable Feast.
There was nothing
more romantic
than the way
Hem and his wife
shared a bottle of wine
in their bare cabin
in the winter woods
I used to think.
The whole book
seemed a valentine
from another time.
He sd they were poor
& repeated it
but I didn’t believe it.
That baby grew up
& did not kill himself
unlike his father and grandfather.
Babies
are romantic
if they are subordinate.
The minute
they rise up all scream
it’s a new wound.
Why not let yourself
be torn?
Why not let anything
be born?
Mz N wondered
how anyone
ever made a decision
especially women.
Reason
is but choosing
but there are so many reasons.
Choice
is a fallacy
sustained by the ideology
of the individual
says a friend of Mz N.
Nevertheless.
The thrush
doesn’t choose to sing
but sings
& the maple
can’t choose not to leaf out
& Mz N can’t choose
not to drift
through a summer of possibles
& unresolved doubts.