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(for Douglas, at one)

Archaic, his gestures
hieratic, just like Caesar or Sappho
or Mary’s Jesus or Ann’s Mary or Jane   
Austen once, or me or your mother’s you

the sudden baby surges to his feet   
and sways, head forward, chin high,   
arms akimbo, hands dangling idle,   
elbows up, as if winged.

The features of his face stand out   
amazed, all eyes as his aped posture   
sustains him aloft
                        a step a step a rush   
and he walks,

Young Anyone, his lifted point of view   
far beyond the calendar.

What time is it? Firm in time   
he is out of date—

like a cellarer for altar wines   
tasting many summers in one glass,

or like a grandmother
in whose womb her
granddaughter once
slept in egg inside
grandma’s unborn daughter’s   
folded ovaries.

Marie Ponsot, “Pre-Text” from The Bird Catcher. Copyright © 1998 by Marie Ponsot. Reprinted with the permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Source: The Bird Catcher (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998)
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