A Newborn Thing

A Newborn Thing
Annie Neugebauer

I suspect a poem is a newborn
mewling thing,
standing on legs still wet with wobble.
I suspect there are three
ways to grow it.

You mother the thing,
nuzzling and cleaning dense fur
with a long, tired tongue,
raising it to be healthy and brave
and possibly like you.

You tame the thing,
teaching it right away
how to hide, how to obey,
how to exist without living
a life of its own notice.

You leave the thing,
and it gains legs both
long and strong,
it gambols away from you
and you don’t follow,
but watch—
watch now,
as it turns its head
in a way you’d never
have thought,
as it frolics to the dark
green woods
to nibble on the edge
of something wilder.

Annie Neugebauer is a novelist, blogger, nationally award-winning poet, and two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated short story author with work appearing in more than a hundred publications, including Cemetery DanceApexBlack Static, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror volumes 3, 4, and 5. She’s a columnist and writing instructor for LitReactor. You can visit her at www.AnnieNeugebauer.com.