Teething Ring

Cecily Iddings

When I asked for a sitter I ended up
with a woman posing first vampish

then impoverished, both ways ignorant
of the baby.

Since then I knew not what to do
what else to do but

mistake the baby
through the cosmorama

to see All the World in a Box.

The boxes are lacquered cherry and bevel-edged.

The baby has a hole in his head I’m told not to poke.

But I’m a tempted kind
of mother, consequently

I worry over his topography.
All the world disappoints
and the baby is indifferent.  

Will he speak?

Will he drool into old age?
Into adage, liquor, evil?

The sloping glass lids fit perfectly
above the soda pop labels and the paper dolls, at least

one from each continent, while the baby’s eyes
drift like planchettes, meaningful, maybe.