the healing muse

Volume 7, 2007

First Words

Jennifer Richter

Child, you were light all at once.
You did not tunnel toward the bright
world waiting; from a small slit
like a crimp in the blinds, they pulled you
from me and held you to the sky,
held you crying, held you shining,
your fair skin lit from the inside,
your hair one huge fine red flame.
Luke, luminous, we chose the name
before we were sure of you
and since you came, our usual season
of rain has stayed away. Today,
sun strong at our backs, day of the year's
longest night, you sit on my lap,
wave your arm in the most deliberate
gesture I've seen, follow the spread
of your fingers across the floor
and just like that add shadows
to what you already know.
Already, you have a song-like voice
though it has taken four months
and this moment to coax my first words.
Strange, this turning from you to the page
so I wait until I hear the poem
whole in my head. Luke: the one
who found words for that one birth,
that famous star. In this season,
son, you live in holy mouths.
When you were born the doctors
held you up with arms raised,
and all our faces tilted to the place
blessings come from, and names,
and the first words, and light. Luke,
luminous, your hand in the air is a star;
on the floor our shadow is still one body.

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