A wall of gallon paint cans twice your height
and six feet deep, both sides of the aisle.
Tint one side pale pink,
the other blue.
Even so, there will not be enough paint
to cover over what I am going to tell you.
Ditto all the rolls of wallpaper covered
by teddy bears, dancing dogs, and Noah's arks.
A deployment of ten billion rubber duckies
marching across the continent could not suppress it.
A mountain of plush lambs and chenille blankets
the size of the Rockies could not bury it.
If pacifiers were numbered like ants on the earth,
even so, they could not stop my mouth.
Here is the heart-stopping, wail-inducing, garment-rending
flesh-wasting, hollow-circles-under-your-eyes, chain-smoking
reckless-driving, stick-a-needle-in-your-arm, sleep-on-
broken-glass, vomit-blood, end-of-the-world, suicidal truth:
Every baby is a junkie
for its mother.
Elizabeth Schott has a PhD in Art History and taught art history and writing for 12 years at Berkeley, USC, and UCSB. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the Netherlands, as well as a Mellon Fellowship for study at the University of Leiden. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart prize, won a SBWC fellowship through the Community of Voices Poetry Contest, and has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous literary journals including North American Review, South Carolina Review, California Quarterly, Illuminations, and several anthologies. She currently works as a Poet in the Schools and writes for the Santa Barbara Independent.