Love Baby by Anna Mae Perillo

Love Baby

I was born into sunshine
and darkness.
I was Daddy’s love baby;
Mommy and sister’s hate baby.
I know, black and white, even though I live in the gray.
It’s easier to say I had good mommy and bad mommy.

I was supposed to be twins,
before sonograms.
My solo appearance may have been
the first disappointment. I never heard it was
a relief. The second, when the doctor asked,
Who has red hair and a hook nose?
That doctor, my first bully.

My mother said my birth was a snap,
over before she knew it.
She gave me some credit for that
but always blamed me for not looking
upon her in a pleasant you-look-like a great-mother way
in that first hour. She took it personally
forever. She said, You refused to eat. Your mouth was set in a foongie face,
describing my tight-pursed lips
set sternly against the bottle.
(She tried breastfeeding my sister; she wouldn’t try that again.)

Maybe I am twins—
one of us is strong and brave;
one of us is weak and afraid.
Together, we make hurricanes, so scared of themselves
they downgrade to tropical storms,
but most of the time: a steady summer rain

empathizing with the tempered wood of the stilts holding up
beach houses and with children who
just want to ride bikes and squeal
or read books on porches.
Yeah, mostly a       love baby.

Anna Mae Perillo is a poet, novelist and playwright with her first Chapbook recently released, Inheritance of Courage and Fear published by Finishing Line Press. Her poem “Nest of Worries” was published in Volume V of Contrapositions. She recently completed her first novel, Porcelain, currently being edited. Her play, Marianna and the Wild Boars, was accepted for production by the Manhattan Repertory Theater. Due to the Pandemic, the 2020 shows will be rescheduled. She is a lawyer and divorce mediator in Red Bank, New Jersey, a wife and mother of two grown children.
Her poem, “A Boy Lying Listless Against a Wall on a New York City Sidewalk,” has been nominated by Finishing Line Press for a 2021 Pushcart Prize.

Image credit: Twins (