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The Poet's Corner

The Second Day of His Birth


St. Luke’s-Roosevelt, New York City

Remember when I said to you, Hold your son.

And you said, Later. And I said, You didn’t hold him

yesterday. Hold your son now. I knew you were afraid,

but you took him from me, and held him.

I watched you feel the smallness, saw the terror

when you realized how light he was, lighter than

the wood logs you split, the shovelsful of soil

you turned over in your father’s garden,

all the labor a son does when a father demands it —

pouring cement, stacking wood, burying fig trees.

The lightest thing you held was the bird in your arms

just before you killed it. Light, dumb chicken,

so easy to chop off its head, no heavier

than your two-day old son.

U.S. 1 Worksheets

Through the Oak Tree, poetry collection, Kelsay Books

Susan Gerardi Bello lives in Newtown with her husband and son. When she should be writing, she is usually out in the garden pulling weeds or transplanting perennials. Her first book of poetry Through the Oak Tree is available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Poet’s Corner is curated by Bucks County Poet Laureate Tom Mallouk and supported by a grant to the Bucks County Herald Foundation made possible by Marv and Dee Ann Woodall.