late December, 2016
Now’s news begins with babies on the way. Just one’s inside me, but another’s ascending to the throne our nation prides itself on not having, though among our American ways and means is “if you build it” etcetera, and this one claims he knows from building. The New Year’s too a baby of a kind, since ancient Greece at least, then Jesus-ized in Germany, secularized to any-baby and captured as such by the Saturday Evening Post and past decades of animated cels, so the sashed, top hatted, and diaper clad remains today what last year Lisa Rose of CNN called “an avatar of optimism … [h]is enduring appeal … the embodiment of hope that the next twelve months will be better than the last.” Now that I’m growing one from scratch, I fear I feel the metaphor extend, the headlines bearing now-familiar nausea, cramps, fatigue, and shooting pains at sudden movements, as if the coming years aren’t stork-dropped bundles but bloody bulks that won’t pass through without a fight. A gray day, and I can see my lamp-lit face reflected in the window at noon. The top stories swim through me and I dive deep to breathe below the fold, ashamed at my gratitude for the teeming triviality: “The Story of Weihnachtsgurke” … “Thieves with Discriminating Taste Steal Sable Furs From New York Shop.” For a moment, all the babies sleep, and I forget responsibility inside and out of me. It’s Christmas morning again, and my only urgency is searching for that porcelain half-sour hidden in the evergreen, and then … and then … and then … I’m running past the broken glass, cheek pressed to the haul of pelts, arms weighted with the precious dead.