Friday, December 9, 2011


A couple of my friends are expecting, which made me think of this amazing poem, also from Morning Song: Poems for New Parents:

Grave, my wife lies back, hands cross
her chest, while the doctor searches early
for your heartbeat, peach pit, unripe

plum--pulls out the world's worst
boom box, a Mr. Microphone, to broadcast
your mother's lifting belly.

The whoosh and bellows of mama's body
and beneath it: nothing. Beaneath
the slow stutter of her heart: nothing.

The doctor trying again to find you, fragile
fern, snowflake. Nothing.
After, my wife will say, in fear,

impatient, she went beyond her body,
this tiny room, into the ether--
for now, we spelunk for you one last time

lost canary, miner of coal
and chalk, lungs not yet black--
I hold my wife's feet to keep her here--

and me--trying not to dive starboard
to seek you in the dark water. And there
it is: faint, an echo, faster and further

away than mother's, all beat box
and fuzzy feedback. You are like hearing
hip-hop for the first time--power

hijacked from a lamppost--all promise.
You couldn't sound better, break-
dancer, my favorite song bumping

from a passing car. You've snuck
into the club underage and stayed!
Only later, much, will your mother

begin to believe your drumming
in the distance--my Kansas City
and Congo Square, this jazz band

vamping on inside her.

                                      By Kevin Young


  1. Thanks for sharing excerpts from this beautiful book, Anne. You inspired me to buy a copy for my sister-in-law for Christmas - she has just had her first baby. I think I am going to need to buy my own copy! I also recommend Esther Ottaway's Blood Universe:

  2. Thanks for saying that, and for your recommendation! I'll check it out.


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