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Photo: Detail of painting by Chris Koch

Oh, mothers, if you could live to see
the state that your babies are in!
The drivel, the dripping, the wrinkled skin,
so far from the joyous reception
of the little princes and queens,
nothing cuddly, nothing to endear,
nothing of the early humorous mimicking
of toddlers from cherubic lips,
just the stale repetition
of ancient learned response,
nothing to offer the unsuspecting world,
no new tricks, no cute turn of phrase,
doomed to finally wither,
from the dreadful malaise called age.

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