Babysitting

I’m the innocent: this infant
screeching on my hip, scattering
the deer sidled up to the house
to nibble at the window boxes.

All the pain from past lives
lodged in his lungs,
estrangements, exiles, terminal
infections. Crying for those lost
crops, inconsolable.

Please, forget those years,
dwell instead on the ache
of emerging teeth, the cruelty
of your parents,
their night out on the town.

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