When she steps through the front door
and wrinkles her nose, I know it's the smell
of all the old diapers hitting her.
Naturally, the house is a disaster.
It’s never been clean since the breakup.
Her eyes widen at the pile of bills,
porn magazines, and spit rags. I guess
she realizes I'm having trouble
with all these things at once.
The guest chair crinkles with dried baby vomit.
There must have been a spot still wet
because when she sits down, she squeals
and rises, wiping her skirt.
And look, there’s that pacifier
I've been searching for, down behind the desk.
It’s been missing two months and of course
she finds it in the first two minutes.
She wipes off the dust, a sour look on her face
like she just got a taste
of something she won't swallow.
“At least he seems well-behaved,” she says,
bending to the crook of my arm,
the head of my child.
“Oh yes. Sometimes.”
Last night, gone drinking with friends,
I had her in a grove of trees behind the bar.
She just bent over and we did it,
me with this woman I'd known for about an hour.
It was romantic and sexy. She yelled like crazy,
then she laughed as we dressed.
Over the next glass of wine, seated at the bar,
she insisted on a second date.
Now, she holds out her arms stiffly
and gives me the face of fear
as I offer her a baby.
“Are you sure?” I ask. She nods.
Naturally, my son cries and she tries
to smile, on the edge of tears herself.
“I guess I should get used to it.”
And I think, hey, she's nearly right
but still, she’s getting cocky, assuming I'm in love,
that I want her to stay
just because she's pretty.
“You know, we didn't use any protection
last night.” She hands him back.
“Hah. That's sort of how I got this one.”
We both laugh. But I am holding a baby
over my shoulder and, for the moment,
she is studying me
and holding her one hand in the other.