the healing muse

Volume 7, 2007

Returning the Rent-a-Baby

Brock Dethier

I carry my cancer 'cross campus
like a baby.
It brings the women around.
They coo endearments
with softened eyes,
finger my shoulder,
laugh sadly.

"Rent a baby
Get a babe."
Thursday through Sunday, a booth on the quad,
babies by the minute,
black, white, or Asian,
paper or plastic,
identical onesies
for mid-date baby exchange.

Guys buy an hour
to parade on the library steps.
A babied stroll through the union
makes the lassies swoon.
Heated drop-off box
behind Family Life
for late-date convenience.

A franchise on every campus,
website rimmed with faces
lured by leased love, borrowed beneficence.
Available in "Rip," who sleeps
through earthquaking orgasms,
"Coo," the cuddly conversation starter, and
"Poopy," for those attracted to a helpless man
and a baby in need.

My baby talks already.
It says, "You made me,
but I am not you.
You will die so I can grow.
I am your punishment and your curse,
the fruit of your excess.
Yet you have loved me all your life."

I want to return this baby,
this pus-filled pomegranate.
Sympathy is a shallow grave.
Everybody loves a guy with cancer
because it's not them.
I've had enough of such love.

Return to Table of Contents, Volume 7, 2007.

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