Today all the babies are angry.
The sun hurts their skin. It’s late summer,
and the way plants propagate seems
cleaner, how I can cut off a piece of pothos
and sometimes it sprouts another limb.
When it doesn’t, I put the cutting
in the garbage. But the baby needs food.
The baby needs music. The baby needs snowsuits
and a tiny bikini. It is as ugly as a worm,
writhing on the table, and all the time through love
we make each other into babies, we grow violent
with desire, and Britney is asking the baby
to hit her, and the Ronettes are singing be my baby,
and Justin Bieber is saying baby baby baby oh.
And my mother is saying when I was your age
I was so anxious to have children. And I’m
picturing my fake French girlfriend, our life
together, a baby sitting up adultlike at the table.
Once, my young parents planted my placenta
under a plum tree. The tree never bore fruit.
Sometimes I worry about my subconscious––
I dream I’m pregnant and making coffee
but the coffee pot is filled with dirt.
Madeleine Cravens is an MFA candidate at Columbia University, where she is the Max Ritvo Poetry Fellow. She was the first place winner of Narrative Magazine’s 2020 30 Below Contest. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Narrative, Frontier, IMAGE Journal, the New Ohio Review, the Florida Review, and the Raleigh Review. She lives in Brooklyn.