Seventy years ago my mother labored to bear me,
A twelve-pound baby with a big head,
Her first, it was plain torture. Finally they used the forceps
And dragged me out, with one prong
In my right eye, and slapped and banged me until I breathed.
I am not particularly grateful for it.
As to the eye: it remained invalid and now has a cataract.
It can see gods and spirits in its cloud,
And the weird end of the world: the left one’s for common daylight.
As to my mother:
A rather beautiful young woman married to a grim clergyman
Twenty-two years older than she:
She had her little innocent diversions, her little travels in Europe-
And once for scandal kissed the Pope’s ring-
Perhaps her life was no emptier than other lives. Both parents
Swim in my blood and distort my thought but the old man’s welcome.