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American Life in Poetry: ‘Sight,’ by Faith Shearin

By Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06

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.


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.

Poem copyright 2015 by Faith Shearin, from “Orpheus, Turning” (The Broadkill River Press, 2015) and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by the Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.

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