by Alice Notley

Where there used to be a thousand branches
there are now a thousand
             it's our own world.
			           A baby
turns in a black void,
              to be born unto
us, with love; if she
dies, she will be
      See the cross-section
     of her shoulder, gold-haloed.
But she's born at the airport.
A woman cries near a sign...
                        Can't read it.
Leave the airport, limos in traffic,
I am baby, I'll never know
 	       why I have to be driven by
such hard
      people.  No one asks questions about
A child on the floor
    is now I;
a man walks down our stairs.  I say,
      "There you are,
what's behind your foot?"  No
              It's ugly, a broken black cloth.
I suspect
     this isn't life.
It's not as large a story as I remember.
"Gossip quotient," he says,
		      "This world is for stars."
"Empty the value   value   value,
		      he know,"
			       I say in
"Too much pointing at...civilizations,"
     he says, "See the past
trying to frighten us.  This film 
     is funnier than that."
"It...terror," I say, "not funny."
"We don't
       listen to baby; baby is
        But we love you, the
little 'un."
Magic lake, black, gold lights,
     that was that.  That was
                          probably my past.
"Other great intellectual houses
will have more to offer:   Baby
     emotes too much."
I don't think I'll talk 
I saw them sleeping, the blooming roses,
I want to
     sleep & dream
of another world.
	  	       I'd rather be
a leper.
	  "I had no idea
I was alive.  A surgeon defined it," he says.
"Baby, are you taking notes?"
"No, I locked them.
My feeler will tell me
     when I'm alive again, when
this dream end."    

(originally published in The World #49)