Anthropologist Weighs In
After Craig Raine
They pick it up each time it cries —
the tiny creature calms right down —
and tickle it from foot to crown
or murmur doting lullabies.
It travels with them everywhere,
indoors and out, at home, on trips,
pressed snugly to their breasts or hips.
(If it got lost, they’d have a scare!)
By day, its face keeps them beguiled.
By night, they seldom sleep apart.
Oh, how it animates my heart
to see these humans with a child —
until it’s one or maybe two,
and then, of course, you know the score:
They take it to the Apple Store
to trade it in for someone new.
I’ve seen the females smearing cream or powder —
beige, pink, gray, brown and shades a good deal louder —
across their skin, from brow to chin.
It’s often very dear for them to buy.
No matter how adroitly it is used,
it tends to leave them looking slapped or bruised
(if bruises flaked, rubbed off and caked),
yet many wear it daily till they die —
and afterward. (As soon as they are gone,
attendants always seem to spread more on.)
Someday, I vow, I’ll fathom how,
instead of having sex or eating pie,
or harnessing their vast creative powers,
they choose this way to spend a thousand hours.
(And maybe then I’ll ponder men,
who waste their time on something called a tie.)
If you have any comments on this poem, Melissa Balmain
would be pleased to hear from you.