The man had only fifty dollars to make a room. Friends told the man to try yard sales. Or Craigslist, where things might be free. On a warm Sunday the man walked, found yards with things for sale in them, none of them for babies. On a chilly Saturday the man walked, further this time, found a bassinet carved in lovely old wood but the seller wanted most of what little the man had. Another yard, a crib, evidence of bedbugs. On Craigslist, a cheap and flimsy change table, free but the owner couldn’t deliver and the man had no car.

When the baby came home, new and outraged, the man showed her the cardboard box on which he had painted, in careful loving letters, her name. He showed her the mattress he had cut out of the foam from his futon, that had cost him nothing and was free of bedbugs. He knelt on the carpet to change her diaper, wrapped her in a swaddling cloth made from his favourite old t-shirt, and the baby calmed.