Not Bieber’s Baby

When you call me baby
you diminish me
you infantilize
you present me as nothing
but a desperate, helpless child.

A baby is bald
and incontinent,
pre-ambulant
and incoherent
and inchoate.
When you call me baby
it is very difficult
to hear the intended endearment.

I am not a kid.
I am responsible
and capable.
I have paid bills for three
out of the last eight months
and I have gotten very good
at returning most of my correspondence.
I am perhaps not a fully formed adult
like my parents were
and will probably never be
but I am not an infant, neither.

Still
if you stroke my ear
and let me nuzzle your knee
for a little while longer
I think I can let you call me baby
just for the rest of today.

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