Meryl Natchez


I like it that they give robot babies to teens 
to simulate parenthood,
that the robots are programmed 
to cry unless they are held. I think 
the teen mother has to hold them—no one
else can make them shut off—but maybe
I’m imagining that, maybe that’s a level of need
only real babies demonstrate. Because
a robot can’t prepare you.
Even if it cries all the time, 
it isn’t wired
into your nervous system. You can’t imagine 
the despair and rage snarled
within the besotted adoration
that tiny body wrenches from you 
at birth.

This is the blood vow,
the one you cannot break.
You can barely acknowledge 
even to yourself, the force
of the urge for escape,
so that you’re lying if you say
you don’t understand 
how anyone 
can bash a baby’s brains 
against a wall.
With luck, 
you don’t do it,
but you understand.