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  • Olivia Luchini

Just A Babe

You did not want to take a lover

Nor did you wish to be a partner

And I – with my near-perfect vision

Should have been able to analyze

The graying skin around your

Tiny eyes, which looked right through me

Even as I melded my soft body to yours

So that you would know how loved –

How adored – how desired – how needed

You were

I remained a placeholder

A seat filler

A perishable

I knew my expiration date had been stamped

On my back right where I couldn’t quite reach it

Could never wash it away so that we’d forget

That I was destined to spoil

You did not want to take a lover

What you wanted was a mother

Someone to provide for you

As you learned to navigate

The world around you

A 27-year-old baby

A toddler perhaps

With no firm plans or knowledge

Of how the world around you might

Look one day when you finally faced it

You wanted to be forgiven for

The tantrums and the failures

You wanted grand memories

You wanted vacations where

You sat passenger seat and

Simply enjoyed

You wanted grace

Not in certain situations but in a constant


Flowing over you from me as you fell

Shorter and shorter each day

The bar was low (you are a baby, after all)

And yet when you missed it

You wanted me to kiss your scrapes

You offered no apologies

For your shortcomings

The lesson had yet to come up in


“Sorry” was a kindergarten subject

I pray you’ll get there

You did not want to take a lover

You wanted a parent of sorts

That offered unconditional love

And sacrificed all of themself

For you

You and you

All of you

There was no compromise for

The broken boy who had lost all

He grew greedy and selfish

The world was against him

Only I could be for him

So when my needs grew too large

I suppose I joined the rest of the population

Who raised weapons against the little one

We all wanted the worst for him

We all wanted to torture him

So we did so with love and affection

With time and effort

With comfort and care

Just like Guantanamo

You did not want me

It’s never been clearer

I plucked you from obscurity

And took your words for genuine

Kept records of the nice ones

They all fit on a spare napkin

But I could have been anyone

You would’ve slept next to


Pulse unnecessary

You cower next to the body

Warm or cold

And call it “mother”

And hope it can heal you

Yet you don’t believe you need


I hope you’ve been fixed

In any version of the word


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