AN: A late Valentine's gift for Gabri, who patiently awaits poems that take months to appear. We covered Robert Frost in my AmLit course this week, and reading pieces like "The Death of the Hired Man" inspired me to try a similiar style for one in my ongoing series of Luke & Mara poems. Fortunately, my subject matter is a bit lighter - and fluffier - than Frost's.Enjoy!

Bringing Up Baby

She finds him hidden deep within
the cargo bay, head bent, hands
folded, face calm and contemplative.
Meditating. She grabs a nearby
crate and scoots across from him,
taps his bent knees with her foot,
smiles. Then she goes for the kill.

"Luke, do you hate babies?"
Satisfied, she watches as his
head pops up, his eyes widen,
his mental state shifts from relaxation
to alarm – defenses rising yet
struggling to comprehend this
pre-emptive strike. She feels his thoughts
bounce from surprise (am I dreaming?)
to scrutiny (was this foreshadowed?)
to reaction (how should I proceed?).
But she interrupts this process,
striking again with a glint of keen eyes.

"Mirax and I were chatting last month
about Valin, and Jysella, and Leia's
kids. And how it's been three years,
and you've not once brought up
the topic at all."

"I haven't?"

Which leads me to assume that
you, the Almighty Luke Skywalker,
don't want any—"

"—I didn't—"

"Or maybe
the great Jedi Master thinks that
I'd corrupt children—"

"—You wouldn't!"

"But that
still presumes that my husband has
thought about the subject—"

"I have!"

why haven't you mentioned,
in passing – or better yet,
in serious conversation when you're
not stuck teaching, and I'm not trapped
dealing with business? Luke, tell me,
why haven't you asked me at all?"

He blinks, and she follows his
thoughts' wild movement, from guilt
(was I negligent?) to remorse
(was I selfish?) to finally settle
on old farmboy sheepiness. "I worry
that I wouldn't be able to teach
them – don't laugh, Mara – as I
should, and that they might fall from
the Light to confusion, and then into
Darkness. You see? It's important
that our son – you're right, or
we could have a daughter. I didn't
mean to say that we couldn't
have a daughter, just – what
was I saying? Oh yes – don't
distract me – it's vital that
I do not push them into situations
where they could be tempted.

"And right now, I'm not sure
that I could successfully
handle those duties. I'd rather
refuse to consider the matter
than watch my own child fall
prey to that evil. I'd risk anything
to prevent that. I'm sorry for
being so weak – but becoming
a parent, we could be creating
another Darth Vader—"

"No, listen
to me, Luke – that wasn't your
fault, and you're not to blame. He did
that himself. And if we have a
child, you'll have to accept that
the choice between cruelty
and candor is a personal
decision. You only answer for
yourself, not another. You haven't
failed if one goes astray."

She stretches a hand out to
comfort, encourage while reaching
to soothe his turbulent thoughts.
Then slowly, he smiles,
the lines on his forehead
fading, his shame replaced
by a look of shy mischief,
the hint of a smirk crinkling
the sides of his mouth.

"I thought that you'd been
rather quiet this past week.
Mara, does this mean you're—"

"Force, no!
I just wanted to make sure that
when it does happen – and it hasn't
you wouldn't freak out and
break part of my ship."