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Stephen Kroninger
The Girl in the Abstract Bed
posted:
1954
.
.
She rode in a British sports carriage
powered by her water-cooled mother, jane.
She ate in a high-chair made of canvas and wrought iron.
Her tableware was stainless steel, from Denmark,
her porringer was pottery, from California,
and her typical luncheon menu might have been:
Chicken Livers en brochette, puree de petits pois, and Lait au lait.
She played in a kidney-shaped playpen
built by her power-tooled father, DADA.
There came the time when nicole learned to walk.
Her parents had the Leotard Service
Send in a nice pair of ballet slippers,
some horn-rimmed frames (the lenses could come later), and
a checked wool shirt.
.
.
How tranquilly things went! Whenever Nicole tired of walking,
they could put Little Bop Eep on the Hi-Fi,
get out a book of Mother Proust stories,
and she would lounge in the playpen,
surrounded by her favorite toys.
One summer day it became necessary to take Nicole to visit
her Reactionary Grandmother
in the country.
Grandmother saw the child and steamed like a teakettle,
jane clutched her daughter's hand, firm as a pharaoh,
(her husband was unloading the car).
But before the two ladies could so much as crackle
the first crisp words,
DADA called out to jane:
"Honeypet, could you help me with the playpen?"
"Nicole P. Snow," rasped the Reactionary Grandmother,
grabbing at the glasses,
"you are the most peculiar,"
shucking off the slippers,
"baby that I ever saw."
And she pulled away the shirt and leotards.
Nicole rushed happily into the sunshine to play.
The Reactionary
Grandmother braced herself
ready for any battle,
but
to her astonishment
DADA only smiled and said to jane:
"Look, honeypet,
our baby is primitive, after all."
.
copyright 1954, by Tobias Schneebaum and Vance Bourjaily.


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