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To a Crying Baby (for Ryan)

by Thomas Rions-Maehren

I get it. You 

used to simply not exist, and now

you do. That’s a lot to cope with. Pile on

the undefined stomach pains, chafing diapers,

icy boredom, and the

the disorienting vastness of the world around you; crying

is probably the only thing that


makes sense. Heck, 

it’s been decades, and the thought 

of the absurdity and the superfluousness of my own

existence, this grey sweater I’m sown into

that’s just a bit too warm and vaguely itchy, still 

brings tears to my eyes

sometimes. The emptiness here

has so much pizzazz – flashing neon lights, raucous rattles, 

googoo gaga nonsense, dizzying mobiles of disingenuous 

smiling faces looking down on you, 

sweet, sweet binkies that are fun to suck 

but relinquish nothing – and society fills 


you with shiny sparkling nothingness

until, hollow, you burst into a blustery

confetti of dust and nostalgia. What I mean


is that none of this matters, but even

as a newborn, you’re hardwired 

to grope around for meaning,

and you’ll spend a hundred years probing

through a goopy, mushy, baby food reality,

fumbling and feeling and reaching for

and failing to find something that doesn’t even exist

like the milk your tiny mouth contorts to suck

in your dreams. 


I suppose it’s all my fault

for dragging you into this in the first place.

I’m sorry. 

I don’t have any answers,

but I’ll be here if you want to order a pizza and talk about it. 

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