he bragged, "She'll do it.
I told her I didn't want a kid."
their beer mugs stayed suspended
and no one breathed.
the bartender waited, eyes down,
draped in silence like the men
who knew the wife.
and then the relief of noise, of speech,
of changing the subject as if
all of it, the quick suspense, that second
of time, hadn't climbed up barstools
and exposed a belief
that raged, alert and sentinel;
and long enough
to hear a baby cry.