A well-stocked pantry

My wife went into the pantry for peaches
but came out with a baby — I hadn’t noticed
the house was pregnant, she said — 
it was crying, so I cried back — 
then she cried, the woman I barely know
after sixteen years — why just the other day,
she told me she’d always been afraid
#2 pencils might be made
of what they’re named — but even crying
it was cute — pink and scrunchy-eyed — 
like a newt balloon someone had blown up
until puffy and ready to pop — 
it was as if the universe decided
it was time to act our age — that’s
when we threw all our heroin out — 
took the high-wire down and stopped
skeet shooting in the living room — 
and as much as I miss yelling Pull
while stoned and standing on the edge
of the air, looking into the abyssal fall
I sorta desperately want, someone’s
gotta change the diapers and burp the thing
when it fills with swamp-gas or whatever
that is — the miracle, you know, of birth
is that my wife and I gave up hang gliding
for making the nummy sound against the belly
of the beast who showed up and took over — 
just as once, I shot the rapids, popped out,
squirmed against my mother and destroyed
every other future she might have lived
but one — long before I could speak,
I was cruel — for a few seconds,
I let my mother believe I was everything
she ever wanted — and even now, decades after
my few perfect seconds as a baby, if I called,
at the first unexpected brush of Hey, ma
against her ear, she’d still be hoodwinked
by the tidal pull of my voice
on the ghost of a womb they long ago
ripped out, that she was holding
a full moon in her arms

More Poems by Bob Hicok