WE AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET!
by Toi Derricotte
You remember that, huh? Yeah, it's hard to forget that. They say that you'll go to sleep and forget the pain; when you wake up you don't remember anything. Then I wonder why I wrote this seventeen years after my son's birth. I guess I just didn't get it right. Anyway, you come to the good part in the book, the delivery section, it really gets good after a while. And then you come to the last poem in the book, which I want to read for my son, Tony:
OF YOUNG BOYS
i knew you before you had a mother,
when you were newtlike, swimming,
a horrible brain in water.
i knew you when your connections
belonged only to yourself,
when you had no history
to hook on to,
when you had no sustenance of metal
when you had no boat to travel
when you stayed in the same
place, treading the question;
i knew you when you were all
eyes and a cocktail,
blank as the sky of a mind,
a root, neither ground nor placenta;
red with the cut nor astonished
by pain, one terrible eye
open in the center of your head
to night, turning, and the stars
blinked like a cat, we swam
in the last trickle of champagne
before we knew breastmilk--we
shared the night of the closet,
closing on our thumbprint,
we were smudged in a yellow book.
son, we were oak without
mouth, uncut, we were
brave before memory.