The Baby Angel Epidemic, A Poem by Chris Russell

A baby angel had been spotted eating out of a neighbor’s trash again, preferring curbsides where trash barrels have already been knocked over by a dog or some other animal looking for scraps. Reports suggest that because of their resemblance to human babies, they may like to lick the sugary residue left by soda bottles and various juices, acting upon a need for love and nurturance that has yet to be fully realized. What can look like a heightened predisposition to diabetes can be easily mistaken for what experts are now calling the “Pantry Effect,” or what others have dubbed the “Gingerbread Man Syndrome.” Baby angels can, it is theorized, because of an absence of object awareness and a variety of unsubstantiated environmental factors, without provocation, start seeking out containers, garbage bins, recycling bins, paint buckets and the like, first, to be cocooned, and when unable to feel completed by one, eventually seek to become the container they are seeking by digesting the contents of said container, which makes them feel safe and loved. I decided to see what it was all about, so I patrolled the neighborhood hoping to catch one. It only took about 10 minutes to spot one. At first I thought it was a seagull, because of the wings. As I got closer, I noticed its head was buried deep in what looked like a fried chicken bucket, but I suppose it could have been a popcorn bucket. I got level with it. “Show me your face,” I said. Neighbors began flying out of their homes, tentatively with their cameras. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who’d been thinking about doing my own reconnaissance. I grabbed it by the ankle and gave it a little tug to help it make a decision. “Leave me alone,” it said. It swatted at my wingtip. Where did these things come from? “You don’t have to be frightened little guy,” I said. “Stop trying to steal my food,” it said. It was obviously reliving some kind of trauma. “I’m not trying to steal anything, baby angel,” I said. “I just want to know why you’re here, and who you really are.” It backed out of the Finkin’s trash barrel and flew off, disappearing over the roof of the movie theatre. I heard someone behind me. It was Mrs. Bryant. “What did you find out?” She said. “Not much. But I got a good look,” I said.

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