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Wedding Cake

Once on a plane

a woman asked me to hold her baby

and disappeared.

I figured it was safe,

our being on a plane and all.

How far could she go?

 

She returned one hour later,

having changed her clothes

and washed her hair.

I didn’t recognize her.

 

By this time the baby

and I had examined

each other’s necks.

We had cried a little.

I had a silver bracelet

and a watch.

Gold studs glittered

in the baby’s ears.

She wore a tiny white dress

leafed with layers

like a wedding cake.

 

I did not want

to give her back.

 

The baby’s curls coiled tightly

against her scalp,

another alphabet.

I read new new new.

My mother gets tired.

I’ll chew your hand.

 

The baby left my skirt crumpled,

my lap aching.

Now I’m her secret guardian,

the little nub of dream

that rises slightly

but won’t come clear.

 

As she grows,

as she feels ill at ease,

I’ll bob my knee.

 

What will she forget?

Whom will she marry?

He’d better check with me.

I’ll say once she flew

dressed like a cake

between two doilies of cloud.

She could slip the card into a pocket,

pull it out.

Already she knew the small finger

was funnier than the whole arm.

 

 

by Naomi Shihab Nye

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Writer and Poet

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Tricia McCallum

Always be a poet. Even in prose.
Charles Baudelaire.

In essence I am a storyteller who writes poems. Put simply, I write the poems I want to read.[…]

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