beijing baby

Loitering on the bridge before the Forbidden City,

in the lax light of a bloodless Tiananmen December,

a sudden bundle thrust into my arms; nine pounds

of TNT and an alarm clock? No, a swaddled child

of serene countenance. That innocent and I traded

smiles as his parents waved a dramatic camera.

In that country, where once I had a baby pressed

upon me in the street, many adults had embraced me

for a portrait to please the folks back home; that day

I was struck on that bridge by more than amusement;

by a grip of responsibility; by unforeseen fatherhood.

Keith Welch lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he works at the IU Herman B Wells library.  He has poems published in various small journals, both online and in print. He is (like so many others) a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee.  He enjoys conversing with other poets, and invites you to follow him on Twitter @Outraged-Poet.