A close-up shot of a baby with its hand in its mouth
Lisa Sorgini

The Infant’s Eyes

A poem for Sunday

Now that I too am
the terrible witness
to the ovum
and I have been
wrestled to the ground
with her fresh bread
and dirt
breath and have been
the laughing maniac
of motherhood
now
I will always
rise and go
to see what is wrong
like a cardinal to the pope.
Whenever something sounds
from upstairs
I’ll rush up
or out
or in
to see what is what
whether anyone is hurt
or in need
then I will putter back
to continue the leftover
saggy and unreal job
of aging
toward benediction.

Now
when I bite into
the tied-off end
of a sausage
it reminds me
of her umbilical cord.
As the eyes
of the mice
in my kitchen
remind me of her eyes
in the unclearness
of the birthing room—
when the mice watch me
storm about, slamming
dishes, it reminds me
how her infant eyes
began
to follow me
when I paced
the little
horrible apartment
we were living in
when she was born
an apartment
that reeked in the hallway
of cigarettes
and the neighbor was always
screaming at her boyfriend
that he was
“making her fat”
because he didn’t
love her enough
and he would hang
out his window
smoking a bowl
saying “Geezus
fuckin’ Christ”
and shaking
his head

those were the days
when my baby began
following me with her eyes
when I—neurotic
about her breathing—noticed her
noticing me
and realized I’d never been
looked at like that before
as if the sky
had ripped off
a strip of its blue
and a massive face
looked through at me—
I froze under her
dispassionate
infant stare

her twin black crystal balls
focusing fully on me
surveying like
an ancient god
the status
of evolution’s
latest results,
making what
could only be
her
Edenic judgments.