Tuesday, July 7, 2020

from 13th Balloon by Mark Bibbins

from 13th Balloon

A few months after you died
I came home on a black and freezing night
to find a small cardboard box
on the steps outside my building

I opened the lid and inside
was a single newborn animal
hairless pink and clean
a rat a guinea pig I couldn’t tell

Was it moving        I don’t remember now
why can’t I remember that now
It can’t have been moving
it couldn’t have
been alive
I considered my cat        asleep
in my apartment        would he
kill this creature if it lived
Did I have any milk
and how would I get any milk
anyway inside this tiny thing
that surely could not be alive

What kind of person
might have come and left
a baby possibly dead
animal there in a box
on my stoop        what kind

If this was a test I failed it

I carried the box
three long blocks
to the river and threw it in

I have never so much
as in the moment the box went under
the surface of the water
stabbing and stabbing and stabbing itself
   with the moon’s million obsidian knives
wished that I were dead

If death is a test I fail

If death is a test I pass

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