The babies smelled like mixed-up milk and cotton dragged
through a little wax, but not like sugar or any amount

of caramel. Smelled like salty pee and skin swabbed slick
and the years forthcoming lit up by lemons. Smelled

like not-death—like the earliest of the early yield—like
kale and collards, maybe. Like lettuce? Smelled like

soil, though not so wholly-hearted—smelled more like
fallen apples, I would say, or melons rotting in baskets

made of a tincture of wheat and river water, and were thus
like sleep in an antique pantry. I mean, were like sleep

that much at last. Were sleep unchained from trees
and time and fire and time and hunger and time plus time

plus longing—were sleep cut loose from up and down
and this and that and therefore were—the asinine things—

life at its most extreme and comatose and dragging and slap-
dash—yes—but thunderstruck, all the same. And yes. And best.