Mina Loy

Babies in Hospital

Small Elena
Of shrunken limbs
And ample sex
Having filched
The atrophied
Woman-smile of your mother
Scatter it
On the eating unseen

Inaudible hands
On the counter-pane
It might have been
Fingers should be so long
Being so tiny
But Nature
Needing no microscope
In her laboratory
Found it just as easy
Marshalling imperceptible
To bone of your arm
Among overlapping of lint
Attaining a dignity
Unworthy of your years
Two and a half!

Hail to you
Bad little boy
In bound beauty
Of only a broken leg
And thank you
For throwing
Your bricks on the floor
For the third time
And the smack
You gave me
For the thermometer
Delightfully male
Already gallant
You smooth the mackintosh
For Elena to sit on beside you
Her fragility
Being irresistibly for you
You are very wise
Precocious coquette
Who never learnt to talk
To look at him
Your semi-imbecile
Eyes shut
It is not given to each of us
To be desired.

Do not touch
Apparent flowers
Of festering secret
And the fly-by-nights
Such little things
I cannot be your mother
There are already
So many ignorances
I am not guilty of.