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BABY ON THE SAFE SIDE Sarah Bartlett & Emily Kendal Frey

Publishing Genius Chapbook Series No. 26

People spend a lot of money on strollers. When I point this out it’s like I’m suggesting they try a Radio Flyer or a spice rack on wheels. Well, maybe they should.


I want a baby for each finger and one for each room in my house. The living room will be where they sleep— to be on the safe side.


Me not having a baby doesn’t mean you’re allowed to make comments about my age. You don’t hear me making comments about your vagina.


On its best day, your baby is so much uglier than my imaginary baby. That’s what we’re all thinking, even the babies.


Some people have a few babies and then complain about how busy they are. You don’t see me complaining about the awesome sex I had last night. Dear Birth Machine, Wish You Were Here. Love, Sex Machine.


You are carrying another person inside your body. Doesn’t that make you a person purse?


When a baby has a rash we get so sad. It’s hard to love a scabby baby. But we try anyway. We kind of touch a little extra on the rough parts.


A friend has a baby that we all think looks funny. I suppose we shouldn’t say that to her so often. I’ll meet you at Grand Central for coffee with your weird baby, etc.


I named my dog after my friend’s baby. It made me feel like I have something valuable, which is more than most people can say about possessions named Beatrice or Devon.


Can your baby handle a needle? I have a snag in my sweater and the sweatshop is too far away. I tried trading favors but your baby doesn’t want  my kale smoothie recipe.


He said he wanted five kids and when I couldn’t stop laughing he broke up with me. Lately I wonder if maybe I should have considered it, but what’s that phrase? It’s just a lot of babies under the bridge.


I want to be like Coco Chanel— fabulous constantly. I don’t have time to mother anything. She would say that a baby makes a terrible accessory. I’ll make new purchases and breastfeed them.


A baby is a bonding agent like super glue or rubber cement. Spread one in the middle of your life and count to ten.


Thanks for bringing your baby to the coffee shop. Maybe in a show of solidarity I’ll wear my bra on the outside and pet my nipples a little: coo, coo, coo.


When you said your baby was named Disciple I had an urge to toss it into a river. I held it above my head like a halo and hoped at the very least I’d get peed on.


At the baby shower I drank too much wine and threw up on the bounce-y seat. The one I gave you. All the women with babies hissed like snakes and I reared up like a lion and barfed again.


One time I held your baby tight to my chest and I could tell it wanted to nurse. I was put off by its inability to distinguish me from the usual background. Like I was a boob shirt or something.


Your constant Facebook photo updates are driving me crazy. You aren’t your baby! Lindsay Lohan competes with you for media attention and her hernias are from throwing up. You have an excuse for that. Or at least your baby does.


Swell baby. It’s name is on the top 100 list of baby names. You’ve had generations to become more original but your kid is already Tom Brady with bangs. Tell Gisele to call me.


You wear your baby like a chest plate. The way you stroke your facial hair over your baby’s head looks painful. I bet it has beard burn. I’m going to teach your baby how to smoke a pipe.


Sarah Bartlett lives in Portland, OR. Her chapbook (co-written with Chris Tonelli), A Mule-Shaped Cloud, was published by horse less press in 2008. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Filter, New Delta Review, Jellyfish, NOÖ, Burnside Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Coconut, Sir!, Sixth Finch, Diagram, and elsewhere. Poems co-written with Emily Kendal Frey have appeared in New Pony: a horseless Anthology, Bat City, Portland Review, Caffeine Destiny, Alice Blue, and elsewhere. Emily Kendal Frey is the author of Airport (Blue Hour 2009), Frances (Poor Claudia 2010), and The New Planet (Mindmade Books 2010) as well as three chapbook collaborations. Her first full-length collection, The Grief Performance, was recently published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Baby on the Safe Side is the 26th edition of Chapbook Genius. Š 2011 Sarah Bartlett & Emily Kendal Frey Visit for the archives. Also look for isReads, The Outdoor Journal, at and Everyday Genius at Publishing Genius 1818 E Lafayette Ave Baltimore, MD 21213


A series of short, trenchant poems called "Baby on the Safe Side"