To the Child I Hope to Have by Michael Channing

To the Child I Hope to Have

by Michael Channing

your mother will love and photograph you
more than any human has ever been loved or photographed
if i somehow miss an important event in your life
i promise i will see it that night

we've already acquired all the toys you will ever have
they were given to us or bought
at yard sales and some were mine
from when i was a kid or in college

we'll teach you patty-cake and peek-a-boo
and oxford town and sympathy
for the devil and wheels on the bus
your mother and i have danced
to the rough music of absent or abusive parents
the hit parade of b-sides and murder ballads
we'll give you better songs and instruments to build your own

we fully expect you to hate us once in a while
almost as an after school hobby
by the time you're a teen
we'll have fought a thousand sleepless nights
through fevers and rivers of vomit and urine
years of fears and frustrations
so your piddling little hate will barely prick
our thick battle-hewn hides

but look kid
you will be a monument
to two inconsequential people
who tried their best
to shape the world they were given
into something worth having
and you are the finest work we've done so far

here's a chisel and a hammer and my hope
that you'll be a finer artist than me

Looking Forward to the Baby, Looking After the Baby

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Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing