Friday, November 18, 2011


A baby was born and born on fire.
They said, "Here is your burning baby.
Here is your infant in flames."
They dropped it into its mother's arms
Like a crying comet without a name.

"Shhh," mama crooned,
Her arms gone to cinders
Right down to the bone.
"Leave us, you assholes," she said to the doctors.
"Leave us to smolder.
Leave us alone."

The child was a girl, of course.
A little star,
And though to cradle her was to roast on a spit,
The mother held her,
And damn any do-gooder,
To hell with any child welfare fuck
Who tried to interfere.

There are kinds of love.
Some warm,
Some reward,
Some scorch.
In time, the mother was nothing but ash,
But by then the girl was grown and rose
Five hundred feet into the sky
Like a mushroom cloud sharp
And bright enough to blind.

Look at the doctors, how they fumble;
The ministers, too, with their useless bibles.
Now comes the day for an infant in flames,
A baby born and born on fire.
"Look," says the new mother,
"How red-orange limns
My doubled and darling
Yellow-white twins."


Cloudia said...

wish I was articulate enough to explain the greatness of our word choices and subjex!

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >


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Brian Miller said...

smiles. i may be missing the point completely, but what warmed me the most was the mothers love of the child regardless...the pain, the burning or what others may say...

Lydia said...

Do you even have the slightest inkling how wonderful this is?
Strangest thing, I just know my mother would have adored this poem.

Lynn said...

The song goes so nicely with the poem.

nene said...

Lyrics to real life need to be spoken and heard and so you raise your voice and sing this song. thank you Laura Nyro and Shay

hedgewitch said...

Carrying on the world is a lot harder than burning it down--but I think you need heat for both. I love the last stanza especially, with 'limns' just stellar word use, and the almost rhymes, feminine rhymes, aren't they called? suit the message perfectly.

Carrie Burtt said...

Yes the power of a mother's love....i can feel it in this one Shay....awesome writing as always!!

Anonymous said...

"Like a crying comet without a name."

and it just gets better from there! burning hot! LOVE this!

also love the Laura Nyro version of "And when I die..." very cool with your poem. ♥

Kerry O'Connor said...

Every woman who has brought a child (especially a daughter) into this world will instantly recognize this peculiar pain of giving birth to something which can only burn brighter and hotter than herself, and stand back in awe as she grows.

Forgive a PM here (don't know where else to reach you). If you would like to become a member of Real Toads, please contact me. I would love to hijack your creativity for our project in poetry over there :)

Mama Zen said...

"The child was a girl, of course."

Of course.

Shawna said...

I love this piece, Shay!

This is my favorite section:

"The child was a girl, of course.
A little star,
And though to cradle her was to roast on a spit,
The mother held her"