Meryl Natchez

Full Circle

Sleep-deprived, confused, your nipples so sore 
you can hardly bear the small, toothless gums

with their ruthless sucking,
and if the tiny ones cry when you set them down

you pick them up again, and wander in a sort of dream state
around the few rooms your life has narrowed to

the soft floss of their hair, the bluish pattern that blooms
under their transparent skin, the tiny nails so fragile

they bend when you try to cut them. Soon
they begin to know who you are, they reach their chubby arms

towards you, they smile, they nuzzle the soft bones 
of their fontanel into your neck 

and there has never been anything more delightful,
not sex, not the best meal, not driving fast

in a convertible on a winding road by an azure sea,
and you would do anything for them, and you do,

you give up nightlife, adult conversation, hour-and-a-half
massages, spicy food, uninterrupted thought,

and they learn how to walk,
to swim, to read, and you’ve paid for the orthodontist

and endured the teenage years, and paid for college and 
helped out with grad school and they’re launched,

with their own lives, their own ways of salting meat
and slicing it, their own partners and opinions,

here they are, flawed human beings with adult problems
for which it turns out you are the cause.