American Life in Poetry: Column 610

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BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I suppose there have been other poems about a baby’s first look at and into the world, but they couldn’t be more touching than this, by Faith Shearin, who lives in West Virginia, and whose most recent book is Orpheus, Turning, from The Broadkill River Press.

Sight

Go north a dozen years
on a road overgrown with vines
to find the days after you were born.
Flowers remembered their colors and trees
were frothy and the hospital was

behind us now, its brick indifference
forgotten by our car mirrors. You were
revealed to me: tiny, delicate,
your head smelling of some other world.
Turn right after the circular room

where I kept my books and right again
past the crib where you did not sleep
and you will find the window where
I held you that June morning
when you opened your eyes. They were

blue, tentative, not the deep chocolate
they would later become. You were gazing
into the world: at our walls,
my red cup, my sleepless hair and though
I’m told you could not focus, and you

no longer remember, we were seeing
one another after seasons of darkness.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2015 by Faith Shearin, “Sight,” from Orpheus, Turning, (The Broadkill River Press, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Faith Shearin and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

 

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