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Unspoken Ink: Baby Joker

writing group

This is from last week’s Unspoken Ink Writing group; unedited.  The prompt that was given was the above photo and the words, “crazy game of poker.”

And he sits there with his baby face,

smile pasted on and frozen forever like a doll in a case

with his polka dot bonnet

and flaming cheeks holding a toy just out of reach…


I often picture him as an old man wagging a grey finger

slowly lifting it to his thin mouth

and dust falling from his hairline lip with a crumbling shhh

but then he’s gone, like the Ghost of Christmas Past

the beeping machines snap into focus

and suddenly he appears again

now a toddler holding candy

The King and Queen know nothing, because the Joker

has everything in his hands

a screaming baby Death, screaming into the past present and future

and screaming his baby laugh in your face as your life goes to shit-

I think it’s wildly unfair;

to warp the tender charm of a fresh baby’s cheeks

But his eyes tell the whole thing- curved and dark

like a black hole peeping through two crescents

his little baby feet in little baby shoes

but those eyes

don’t be fooled by his games

or the toadstools at his feet

or the candy in his fists

I’ve grown to know you, the forms you take

and the many more that will follow:

a young man getting hit in the sidewalk by a mother of two running a red light

he’s in “I don’t love you anymore”

“I never loved you”

and sometimes in your own voice:

“I could never love you”