John Ashbery wrote a postcard to my mother in Rome, in 1955, when she was about seven months pregnant with me. From the turn of the twentieth century, the card shows a slim-waisted woman wearing a huge hat, beating away—with her parasol—a giant stork, from whose neck hangs a baby in a sling. "And The Villain Still Pursues Her," runs the caption at the bottom. The stork looks as though he's about to pierce her parasol with his long beak. It's hard to imagine what someone would have been thinking, in the early part of the century, to send this card. Would it have been addressed to a man? A woman? With what purpose? The idea seems to be that this slender woman can't stop getting pregnant, or can't keep herself from having a baby. "Unusually unreliable sources here have it that you're about to favor us with a poet," writes John on the other side, "I hope it's true. Suggest you make me the child's Aristotle ... P.S. If it's a girl, I suggest "Hava" as a nice first name."
Read it here -- from Hanging Loose, Issue 102 - 201, and Poetry Daily