Baby Falls From The Crib
by Karen S. Mittelman

    She stares in wonder as the soft melon head
    cracks against hard wood floor
    and does not
    split.

    Rushing--
    a half second too late--
    from the chair where she settles
    exhausted
    each evening

    to watch the child
    battle sleep, damp black eyes
    half shut,
    hands curled like angry birds
    on the crib rail,
    thrust open in surprise
    as he plummets down.

    She watches in awe,
    as she did at
    his birth,
    the hard wet helmet head
    pressed like madness
    against her

    They tell her
    she does not remember
    the splitting of bone,
    the spurt of her blood
    a savage alphabet on white bedsheet.

    and she is quick to give up
    memory,
    the welling of pain.

    When she tells the story of tonight--

    ___the child overcome
    ___by gravity, the head
    ___plunging down--

    She will say
    she does not remember
    seeing him fall.






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