Parents Spied from Crib


In night comes man to mother

Stink: musk and supper

Turning in day the love-clown

Whittling an apple, nips me


To tummy, mules me on high round

The room – but night, he monster!


Shriek she, banshee, he banter

Almost to tears to touch

The spriting gifting clutch –


Night make him seedy lanterns

His hand out in chill

Contagion, and the teeth unwhite.


He smile – is that for me he such

A raggle and roar on mother?


The baby girl turns to watch:

With night’s Big Man come others,

All dripping from the stony sea

Tumid, bare and loamy


Like winter march in early wars

Like to Ardennes, like to Urals

In the black glue.


She screeches – like those wheels

Turning nowhere to battle.


Up the hill to vesper goes Big Man Night

And turns away from Woman and Child. 


Thus, our fear arisen takes shapes

And chatters; chimping time

Tunes the light to meaning full on lips

Mom explains, and Papa will tell.

By age six or seven, she will

Not know what she knows.


                                                                        -Christopher Ketcham