Friday, March 1, 2013

The Newborn

Two years ago
A woman called me,
A photographer,
She knew someone I knew.

She said
Can you babysit my daughter?
I said yes
Then asked her age.

7 days old.

I thought:
This woman is crazy.
I know she can trust me
But how does she know
I can take care
Of the most precious thing she has?

The tiny human
Woke up when I arrived.
I heated milk
And held her.

She looked at me.
I felt intimidated.
She was so close to creation,
To nothingness.
7 days ago,
She did not exist in this world.
And yet there she was,
Already herself.
This little person
With her curled, warm little body
Dependent on me.

I felt honored to be part of
Her first perceptions of the world.
It made me be my better self
That afternoon.

I held her close to me.
Like a baby animal,
She buried her little face
In my neck,
Chewed on my collarbone,
Looking for the breast of her mother.
She moved her minuscule and perfect fingers.
I looked at them
In awe.

Then I pictured the woman
She would become,
Feared how life might slowly
Erase her innocence,
Bring knowledge
And experiences
That could make her a sad
And bitter person.

So I whispered in her perfect ear:
Be kind. Always.
Compassionate and grateful.
This is a big strange world
And it can be scary at times
But keep your sense of wonder,
And sing a lot.

I added what André Breton said
To his newborn daughter in a letter:
I hope you will be loved madly.

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