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Fear of the Either/Or


The neighbors' new baby is home now
from its little miracle, and we go by,
obligatory, with our skin-of-lion blanket
(so the dead will not disturb her passage)
and a rattle (to frighten in case they do).
Its enormous stretch and yawn, mammalian,
helpless. The unformed throat cords
lead to the primacy of voice and vibrate
like rosin across the bow. This sound shakes
against my wife's endometrial canopy
that collects our effervescence, as if trumpeters
at the walls of Jericho, toppling them to ruin.


We've tried and failed for years. So
wanting a baby now seems almost perverse.
As if we have to do it. That it might fill
that dark seam in the sky that ripped opened.
That we must reorganize the air into an actual
future, rather than this endlessness. Or go
until we fall silent and no one remembers
how we inhabited each other, or wore these
skins—velutinous, honey-drenched—as lions.
How we fit together just so. How we shook
the rattle of our bones against the dead.

Darren Morris

The Missouri Review

Spring 2013

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