Anne Waldman

1945 / New Jersey / United States

Baby's Pantoum

for Reed Bye

I lie in my crib midday this is
unusual I don't sleep really
Mamma's sweeping or else boiling water for tea
Other sounds are creak of chair & floor, water
dripping on heater from laundry, cat licking itself
Unusual I don't sleep really
unless it's dark night everyone in bed
Other sounds are creak of chair & floor, water
dripping on heater from laundry, cat licking itself
& occasional peck on typewriter, peck on my cheek
Unless it's dark night everyone in bed
I'm wide awake hungry wet lonely thinking
occasional peck on typewriter, peck on my cheek
My brain cells grow, I get bigger
I'm wide awake wet lonely hungry thinking
Then Mamma pulls out breast, says 'Milky?'
My brain cells grow, I get bigger
This is my first Christmas in the world
Mamma pulls out breast, says 'Milky?'
Daddy conducts a walking tour of house
This is my first Christmas in the world
I study knots in pine wood ceiling
Daddy conducts a walking tour of house
I study pictures of The Madonna del Parto, a
sweet-faced Buddha & Papago Indian girl
I study knots in pine wood ceiling
I like contrasts, stripes, eyes & hairlines
I study pictures of The Madonna del Parto, a
sweet-faced Buddha & Papago Indian girl
Life is colors, faces are moving
I like contrasts, stripes, eyes & hairlines
I don't know what I look like
Life is colors, faces are moving
They love me smiling
I don't know what I look like
I try to speak of baby joys & pains
They love me smiling
She takes me through a door, the wind howls
I try to speak of baby joys & pains
I'm squinting, light cuts through my skin
She takes me through a door, the wind howls
Furry shapes & large vehicles move close
I'm squinting, light cuts through my skin
World is vast I'm in it with closed eyes
I rest between her breasts, she places me on dry leaves
He carries me gently on his chest & shoulder
I'm locked in little dream, my fists are tight
They showed me moon in sky, was something
in my dream
He carries me gently on his chest & shoulder
He calls me sweet baby, good baby boy
They showed me moon in sky, was something
in my dream
She is moving quickly & dropping things
He calls me sweet baby, good baby boy
She sings hush go to sleep right now
She is moving quickly & dropping things
They rock my cradle, they hold me tightly in their arms
She sings hush go to sleep right now
She wears red nightgown, smells of spice & milk
They rock my cradle, they hold me tightly in their arms
I don't know any of these words or things yet
She wears a red nightgown, smells of spice & milk
He has something woolen and rough on
I don't know any of these words or things yet
I sit in my chair & watch what moves
He has something woolen & rough on
I can stretch & unfold as he holds me in the bath
I sit in my chair & watch what moves
I see when things are static or they dance
I can stretch & unfold as he holds me in the bath
Water is soft I came from water
I can see when things are static or they dance
like flames, the cat pouncing, shadows or light
streaming in
Water is soft I came from water
Not that long ago I was inside her
like flames, the cat pouncing, shadows or light
streaming in
I heard her voice then I remember now
Not that long ago I was inside her
I lie in my crib midday this is
always changing, I am expanding toward you
Mamma's sweeping or else boiling water for tea.
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