Patrick Legay ~ first cry language

if the infant’s tears
are the first language
then all of the sounds of the tower
have sprung
from the shock
of now having to stomach everything yourself
the newborn tract
needs to be swayed and rocked
the cry is not just to be held —
it’s to be moved and don’t stop!
for gravity to push through the bubbles
and so to overcome that soft belly
the child turns to others
whether this is cooperation or
won’t show itself until much much later
and even then only in the really shameless cases
still it is known to the child each moment
having to turn
and turn again
learning to tell time by singing a rhyme
learning to read in that concrete room
with the cartoonish clock above the chalkboard
its massive hands pointing at
everyone but itself
the drapes drawn during the lesson
so you can’t watch the dogs in the park
and you still wish you were a baby somehow
showing up just a little early for the job interview
navy blue suit creased on the right lines
freshly that morning
but the pockets are still sewn shut
those caramel shoes blister
now towards the panel
appropriately brash and appropriately deferential
we’ll let you know next week


Patrick Legay grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has been writing since he was a child — his first work of fiction being a brief supernatural detective story that had something to do with voodoo in New Orleans. For most of his childhood, he wore a green Robin Hood costume, which he had made. Sometime after the costume no longer fit, he moved to Toronto for school, and stayed to do human rights and pay equity work with unions. He now lives and writes in Victoria, B.C. Bienvenue au Danse, Patrick.

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