Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Benjamin Franklin Discovers His Own Hands

Benjamin Franklin Discovers His Own Hands
Leah Browning

It's hard to imagine him this way,
in a yellow terrycloth sleeper with feet
and a duck appliqu├ęd on the pocket.

A chubby baby, minus the gray hair
and glasses, cooing to himself
as he maps out plans for the future:

a clean diaper, a drink of milk,
a warm shoulder to curl up against.
All the good, true things of life.

He, too, discovered light and shadows,
his own hands, the sound of his name;
later birds and trees and stars.

Now here you are, almost three
hundred years later, replicating
his first serious experiment,

one initiated long before he touched
the key to the kite string. Lying in the
cradle, he had a sudden comprehension

of cause and effect, and a desire
to feel again that first electric thrill
of making his mother smile.

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