i. The Old Woman on the Right
She says that we’ve done a good thing
that our daughter is lucky, and we’ll be
blessed, and I want to say, Fuck you,
you racist old bat. I want to say,
Aren’t you afraid about the nigger music
that will come from our house now?
After all, you said that’s why you stopped
teaching dance classes because so many
of your students were listening to it.
I want to say, None of us are blessed.
We’re trying to get by, day to day,
with as much grace and balance and joy
and generosity as we can, but I don’t
say any of this. I say we’re the ones
who are lucky. I say I hope the crying
doesn’t bother her. I say it looks like rain.
ii. The Old Woman Down the Street
She asks why we couldn’t get
a white baby, and I’m tempted to say,
Bad Credit, or, They were all out.
Instead I ask, Why would we
want one?, and we stare
at one another, both puzzled.
iii. The Young Woman on the Left
“It’s funny how she smells black,”
the neighbor says, as she holds the baby.
“They just smell different,” she marvels,
and we explain it’s a starchy smell,
like a potato, because of the soy formula.
We take our daughter back, making a note
to pay attention to the unexpected odors
coming from people we thought we knew.
iv. But All the Others
They bring casseroles and soups.
They say how gratifying it is to have
children in the neighborhood again.
They laugh, sing, and offer to babysit,
and, they too are obsessed with color.
Pink, pink, pink, a daughter arrives,
and suddenly everything, clothing
and cakes, toys and trikes, come in
pink, a celebration and a world seen
as pink, pink, pink, pink, black, pink.