Dee Rimbaud © 2005 All Rights Reserved
III. Tableau with Uncle John
Babies float from their cords like bait, while Uncle John, his tapered
fingers seeking level, cannot hold even this one wet child. Each limb is
separate and growing. When he goes to the window, there is an ocean
with beautiful blues and golds to absorb. But at the city morgue, he has
a friend who performs autopsies, opening flesh as if it were designed not
for egress, but ingress. “To be honest,” he says, “the body is a sponge.”
Could such a thing be true? The baby feels more like a water balloon or
rather any small thing that might burst when it falls, as everything must.
His brother-in-law, the father, extracts the baby from him as if it were
breach because someone has just argued that he should have his own.
Which one? Whose? With his hands free of the crying child, he reaches
for a large, festive bag. In it is his gag gift. Too late to hide the silly offering.
He lifts, as if unsure, two large loofahs from the bag and they are strangely
alive to the touch of each person as they fall from hand to hand, absorbing
this one’s sweat, that one’s dirt, babies thank god forgotten.
Juda Bennett teaches Gay and Lesbian Studies and Multicultural Literature at The College of New Jersey. His work has appeared in Wisconsin Review, Quarterly West, James White Review, Rosebud, and other literary journals.
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