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American Life in Poetry

We’ve published a number of engaging poems about parenthood in this column, and we keep finding more. Here’s Wendy Videlock, who lives in Colorado, taking a look into a child’s room.


I should be diligent and firm,

I know I should, and frowning, too;

again you’ve failed to clean your room.

Not only that, the evidence

of midnight theft is in your bed –

cracked peanut shells and m&m’s

are crumbled where you rest your head,

and just above, the windowsill

is crowded with a green giraffe

(who’s peering through your telescope),

some dominoes, and half a glass

of orange juice. You hungry child,

how could I be uncharmed by this,

your secret world, your happy mess?

Poem copyright 2003 by Wendy Videlock from her most recent book of poems, “Nevertheless,” Able Muse Press, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Wendy Videlock and the publisher. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


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