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First Poem for Sai


You came to the world first through letters.

First there were three, and the next four spelled out B-O-R-N.


You came out into the world first through a language of bodies,

a poetry of family, six hours of some extended metaphor

and your mama’s roar, your father’s hands like gentle stone

carrying you over the water as our candles burned.


Sometimes, this life passes in a blur so rapidly, you may already

be starting to see what I mean. Processing the amazement

and the gratitude along with joy and pain must be difficult

since there are so many things you’ve not yet the languages to name.


So I’ll tell you what’s been up with me:


I’ve been walking by old pasture springs

walking through along the heights

of the City’s tallest buildings,

rambling along the seven golden highways,

reading old books in the cathedrals of thought,

forging letters and words like the ones

that make up your name

and spilling them out onto the page.


Now let me tell you about the day you were born:


It was sunny and the English clouds were tumbling slow

And I was many miles from our home—

Go ask your parents the weather that day

and what time of day it was.


Your mother and father had thought about you for a long time

and they loved you even in the moments that you could promise them nothing

even through the long passing years and months

you were only just a dream, a possibility, a wanting.


Here is what they will try to tell you with every gesture that they make:


We all come from the same beginnings, when you really look at it

but you are here because somebody called for you

because you were needed by us all, because we knew

that you would make this world a better place—

And look. In the kind of funny grace of things, you came.


And here you are:


One day you will find yourself being held in a cradle

or a river or an ocean or a park, born into your first memory.


One day, they will put you down and never have to pick you up again.

You will find yourself in a classroom or highway taking in the world.


I wonder when you’ll hear or read this, and if you do

what you’ll think about reading it.


The world is filled with beautiful puzzles made of letters.


Posted 08/03/14
For Sai, Pol, and Sari
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