Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-four
Spring 2014
Where Babies Come From
           After reading Jean Piaget’s
           Developmental Theories.

Jeanine Stevens

When I was four I learned about geography,
knew you could find one in a tummy store,
just go in and pick out a blue boy or pink girl.
You had to wait until payday.

At five, I built a simple car
with my erector set, figured babies
were manufactured step-by-step: arms
and legs hinged by a special screw and tiny nut,
a production line to add liver, heart, and toes.

Then, inside: white bones, a choice of blood,
bright red for healthy, orange for anemic like me.
The skin came last, a stretched piecrust
vents cut for eyes, nose and mouth.

At eight, I said the egg waited in a rosy cluster,
like an Easter basket. The tadpole searched,
kept bumping the shell until a tiny hole opened
and the fishy thing scurried inside,
the lid snapping shut so no other could enter.

At ten, I learned about sperm, worried
that some were too slow to dip down to a sort
of hazy forming place. And, when the timer
went off, would it be ready? Check for doneness,
like a toothpick inserted in a cupcake!

Now, in college biology, I’m awed by cell division,
my own DNA battery pack, wonder, will they
survive tight jockeys and global warming?
I feel like a god, could people the earth, but worry
about mix-ups, that fine line between vinegar and wine.

About Jeanine Stevens

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