Saturday, 12 August 2017


by Meryl Natchez

I like it that they give robot babies to teens
to simulate parenthood,
that the robots are programmed to cry if they
aren’t held. I think the teen mother has
to hold them—no one else can make them
shut up—but maybe I am only
imagining that, maybe that’s a level of need
only real babies demonstrate.
Because a robot can’t prepare you.
Even if it cries all the time,
it isn’t wired
into your nervous system.
You can’t imagine the despair and rage snarled within
the besotted adoration
that tiny body wrenches from you
at birth.

This is the blood vow,
the one you cannot break.
You can barely acknowledge, even to yourself,
the force of the urge for escape,
and you’re lying if you say you don’t
understand how anyone could bash
a baby’s brains against a wall.
With luck,
you don’t do it.

* * * * *

“Motherhood” first appeared in the anthology: The Mamas and the Papas, City Works Press, 2010

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