Hitching a ride, trusting a partner, marrying the same person three times
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Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Steele Atwater*
of 1306 Canterbury Road
announce the birth of a son
Gordon Steele Atwater, Jr.
on March 13 at Duke Hospital
The Atwaters also have a daughter
Mrs. Atwater is the former
Gladys Scarborough of Durham
My dear Mrs. Atwater, my dear Mrs. Former
My dear Mrs. Gordon Steele Atwater
Mrs. Atwater, Senior
My dear Mrs. mother of Gordon Steele Junior
Would you please rise a little in your dressing gown,
Rest on your elbow, and tell all
Now that your womb is emptied and flat
How very difficult it was to do that?
But how even harder, Mrs. Gladys Atwater,
the miracle birth of a child to a former,
A former latter, now a goner.
For birth to elude the frantic embalmer
Would you please recite
What taxidermy has yielded this stuffing
in spite of all evidence to the contrary
For the newspaper’s printed your obituary.
Your body’s a trophy and on it
Is inscribed your death rattle, your baby’s bonnet.
Babies do rise from the dead bodies of women
If they let them
*Names are fictional