Image by Debbie Schiel

In time I’ve had five babies.

The first one was boneless and meatless; it was a puggish fold of skin, and I would throw it on the ground in disgust where it would puddle up and gurgle little flatulent gusps that were almost cute but stank like dank pot. Within a few days, having accidently left it lying in the sun, a feral dog came and lapped it up.

The next baby, within minutes, dissolved. I held him in my hand and named him Charlemagne and moments later he fizzled between my fingers and left them feeling very dry, not unlike fingers coated with super glue residue.

The third and fourth babies, Congolese twins, were tightly wrapped in cocoons and I left them hanging under my dining room table, but people started to notice and make underhanded remarks over cocktails, and that situation grew peculiar so I moved them to my writer’s desk. Now and then spiders make webs between them and perform acrobatic stunts when I’m not looking. Sometimes in my less proud moments I fancy peeling off the cocoon and spoonfeeding the innards to my cat, but I’m worried about what I may find inside.

The last baby is the size of a bat and skeletal, with arms too long and thin that swivel lifelessly before him. He sleeps and shits normally but his grotesque limbs bother me so I have locked him in my closet, where he sits with vacant eyes and says nothing. Often, when I pace about the room, especially just before dawn in the early morning, or late night like now when I’m growing paranoid against my silent piano and bristling canary in her gilded cage, at times like this the door will creak open and I’ll see him huddled there, shivering with his arms stretching limply at his sides, and just before I slam the closet door shut in fright I’ll hear him say, “Come hither, Love, come here.”


Daniel Uncapher is a prose poet, painter, and pianist from the deep American south.

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