It began with the dreaming mothers.
Their babies came out familiar in shape
but not in substance


Pickle Baby
Ice Cream Baby
Crispy Tofu Baby


The first births were recorded
by nurses with trembling hands.
Others came


Chocolate Baby
Nutella Baby
Marshmallow Baby


The phenomenon had no ground zero, no borders.
Doctors around the world compared notes


Cassava Baby
Chickpea Baby
Spicy Squid Baby


and searched for a cure,
meanwhile pleading with mothers to maintain their health.


The mothers tried


Asparagus Baby
Broccoli Baby
Peanut Butter Baby


But they had needs


Bacon Baby
Rum Baby
Maraschino Cherry Baby
Tiny Umbrella Baby


They couldn’t control their dreams…


Vodka Baby
Wine Baby
Gin & Tonic Baby

…of all the things they couldn’t have

Highball Baby
Marlboro Baby
Raw Cookie Dough Baby
Unpasteurized Milk Baby


The doctors kept waking the mothers up to feed them applesauce and admonishment, but they kept on dreaming…


Imported Soft Cheese Baby
Beef Tartare Baby
Sushi Baby
Swordfish Baby
Just About Any Goddamn Fish Baby


…until finally the mothers said, “Enough!
We still love Pickle Baby
and Crispy Tofu Baby
and Peanut Butter Baby
and Highball Baby
and yes, even Just About Any Goddamn Fish Baby is okay.
They’re all our babies.”


And then they dreamed whatever they wanted.


And by the time Peanut Butter Baby grew up and ruled the world
there were even more kinds of babies, like


Equal Pay Baby
No More Street Harassment Baby
Corporate Leadership Equity Baby
Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation Baby




Respect Your Elders Baby,
who eventually had
To Hell With Plastic Surgery Baby




Male Pregnancy Baby,
who gave immediate birth to
Right to Choose Baby
and her twin
Self-Determination Baby


And when Self-Determination Baby usurped the throne
her first and last order
before abolishing the position of Ruler of the World
was to tell the mothers to dream
and keep on dreaming.

Zetetic separator

Tara Campbell is a Washington, D.C.-based writer. With a BA in English and an MA in German, she has a demonstrated aversion to money and power.

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Tara has also lived in Oregon, Ohio, New York, Germany and Austria. Her work has appeared in publications such as Barrelhouse, The Master’s Review, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse.

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