Hilary Varner


I can only picture it fluttering
translucent, webbed hands

like a miniscule conductor
in a snowflaked sea,

orchestrating its bald parts
and my nausea

in time with the world
I cannot even get dressed in:

the tree laying its own leaves
around itself,

the rain that rushed in
all day yesterday,

the smoke that floated,
brick by brick,

up the chimney next door
with the same smell

as the Scottish highlands,
and the wind

that brought the gifts
of those wet scents

through my cracked window,
as if they were the world’s only things

not rotting, until the air
bloomed with blue skies today.  No,

this being, with its head
white like a flower bulb

and gently bent
over curled shoots of limbs,

this primeval thing
tied to my insides

is too young, too
scary to be called baby

to be
called at all, apparently,

for I do not call to it here.
I can only imagine

its bare, darkening organs,
its folding brain, forming and firming

with a confidence
so inhuman

it makes me rise, find
anything in the fridge 

I can force in to feed
that already quick, sure beat

with my suddenly
mother mouth.