The poem begins with the image of the empty Moses basket - fitting for a text about waiting and longing. The word
stare suggests the poet’s focus on the imminent presence of her child.
Kay gives us a vivid impression of the basket. Its
fleecy white sheet suggests the purity and innocence of a baby. The enclosed basket suggest the baby's current ‘container’ of his mother’s
tight tub of a stomach. The phrase
tight tub emphasises the snugness of the child safely held in the womb. But
tight also suggests the baby is pushing at the sides, ready to move on and be born.
Kay conveys the experience of having a child grow inside you in an evocative manner. The closeness of their bond is expressed:
foot against my heart
elbow in my ribcage
But there is also a hint that the baby is pushing against the constraints.
The list of present participles
burping suggests ongoing feelings - they may have happened in the past but Kay has experienced them so fully that they seem fresh and current.
close stranger highlights the contradiction of someone so close to her physically but as yet unfamiliar. Already she has great love for her child but it is implied that he is someone separate with experience that she is not fully part of. In this way Kay looks ahead to when her son is on the other side of the world, doing his own thing. The baby finally arrives:
late, the very hot summer of eighty-eight
The strong rhyme of
eight suggest the impact he has on her life and the significance of his birth.
The fact that he was pulled out with forceps implies his reluctance to leave her. This contrasts with the wanderlust he has later. The vivid description of the new baby
floury conveys the intensity of her memory as she gets to know her
stranger. The section ends with Kay laying the baby in the basket, creating a sense of completion. The wait is over. The basket is no longer empty.