In the Gas Station Bathroom With My New Son

By Amy O’Reilly

Someone scratched out the C so it reads “Baby hanging Station.”
What isn’t conspiring to kill Baby?
Pillow. Blanket. Mother’s sleeping body like an island
resort battened down for the wet season,
the beds stripped of their festive linens,
clink of glasses beneath the bar while outside
the storm rages.

Motherhood turns out to be
less spot the warning signs,
more choose which ones to heed—

Like this floating table, its baby-sized crater
inundated with other tiny humans’ feces.
Beneath the black safety strap
my son looks sacrificial,
like he’s about to be experimented on.
Even when I’ve chosen right I have surely chosen wrong.

Amy O’Reilly is a graduate of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Creighton University and an instructor in the university’s Graduate School. Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, Spillway and Southern Indiana Review, among others. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and son.

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