Cabbage Patch Kid

by Nora Gomringer

Cabbage Patch Kid

In its first year

it's supposed to sleep as much, develop as much

as possible.

What is put into it,

is supposed to leave its mark:

strengthen, broaden, make it greater.

Syringes are loaded

against the greatest calamities

– »Look over there, a birdy!« –

the needle is rammed into its arm by the doctor.

The first massive disappointment,

as its mother

glances silently.

At the end of the first year,

steps are due, as well as words.

It shouldn’t shy away from being compared

to other miniatures.

The first negotiations regarding possessions

and rejections, the power of gestures

and the magic of facial features

lead to the second year.

The baby is given its name,

after it has become unambiguously blue or pink.

Only after that point, it's worth cursing and damming

the stork; is it worth feeling beneath the cabbage leaf,

full nine months of uncertainty:

fish or bird. It is always

rather impossible, this endeavor.

Translated from German into AE by Paul-Henri Campbell; taken from the collection MONSTER POEMS (Nora Gomringer and Publishing house Voland & Quist 2013)