The night we ate the baby

We both got home late, the night we ate the baby,
and the girl from the agency was out the door as fast
as she could pocket fifty bucks. You were tired. I was tired.
I cracked open a beer and I watched the Prime Minister
smirk through another TV interview and I grew a slow rage.
It was the night we ate the baby, and you were doing something
in the kitchen, but it didn’t sound like food preparation.
It didn’t sound like anything much, and I got another beer
from the fridge without looking up because I got the feeling
you didn’t want me to look up. Neither of us even checked the baby.
And I said, Do you want a beer? But you didn’t, that much was plain,
thank you, you had that set to your shoulders that meant trouble,
not now but later for sure, and then the baby Christ the baby
started crying and you waited for me to do something about it
and I waited for you to do something about it and the baby,
it just wouldn’t stop and you said, Why won’t it just stop?
And you were crying, too, the night we ate the baby, crying hard,
from inside a sorrow so deep I couldn’t reach you if I tried,
so I didn’t try because bad things never stop, it’s not in their nature
to stop, they maybe rest for a while and catch their breath and go on,
like the baby, like you crying. This was the night we ate the baby.

Published in NZ Listener, 5 Jan 2012