She hugs her baby, pats his bottom
sets him on the floor, in the center, where
spectators form a ring and watch.
The "experts": social worker, physical therapist
speech pathologist ask his parents
10,000 questions they do not
understand how to answer or
they don’t see the point
of it all.
The experts make marks on reams of paper, scribble
their impressions in the margins, as if
he is a deficiency, weak in his limitations
a flaw of nature
they show him how to roll a ball, blow bubbles
clap his hands in imitation
but his blank eyes stare at a speck on the floor.
The experts gather their papers and toys and
instruments of instruction
the boy’s mother
gathers him in her arms
the stoic father speaks:
We love him like this, the way he is.
He is our bright star in the sky.
We only want he eat Eskimo food
so he can carry us and
bury us in our village when we grow old.
An expert hands the mother a baby food grinder.
This will grind the muktuk, so the whale
can make your baby strong.
Strong enough to carry you and
bury you in the village
when you grow old.