Polly Rosenwaike

Polly Rosenwaike’s stories have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, River Styx, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. Her story “White Carnations” will be included in the Pen/O. Henry Prize Stories 2013. She has published book reviews and essays in The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times Book Review, The Millions, The Brooklyn Rail, and bookforum.com. In Seattle, she served as a writer-in-residence through Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers in the Schools Program, and taught creative writing to kids at the Richard Hugo House. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and teaches creative writing at Eastern Michigan University. She is working on a story collection about pregnancy and new motherhood.

Grow Your Eyelashes

We are all in love with the baby. We, meaning the #4 bus community: weekday mornings during the 7:00 hour. The baby wears a royal blue snuggly jacket and a green knit hat. He tracks our shopworn, overly articulated faces. Despite how we caper—tilting and bouncing our heads, scrunching our lips and wriggling our noses, working our hands into furious hi’s—the baby is chary with his baby gift of a grin, a wave, a mimic. He gazes at us with his grave baby face, obliging just often enough to lend hope to our campaigns. The father is charming, an early-thirties smiler of indeterminate ethnicity. Perhaps South American, with warm eyes and skin, and a soft voice, generous with the vowels. Strapped to the father’s chest, the baby flaps his puffy arms. There is something of a bird in him, both cautious and confident. Something of a bird, and something of a sad little clown, and something of a medicine man, and all of the possibilities that are open to a baby. We feel this when we look at him, he who will not say, or even think, that it is rude to stare.

I say that we are all in love with the baby, but probably there is someone on this bus who is not. Probably someone looks out the window, or at the father’s rosy ear, or at her own lap, and thinks, goddamn that baby.

--Excerpt from "Grow Your Eyelashes," published in the Indiana Review

Photograph by Cody Walker

Arizona Board of Regents