American Life in Poetry: Column 038

By Ted Kooser
U.S. Poet Laureate
I’d guess that many women remember the risks and thrills of their first romantic encounters in much the same way California poet Leslie Monsour does in this poem.

The boys who fled my father’s house in fear
Of what his wrath would cost them if he found
Them nibbling slowly at his daughter’s ear,
Would vanish out the back without a sound,
And glide just like the shadow of a crow,
To wait beside the elm tree in the snow.
Something quite deadly rumbled in his voice.
He sniffed the air as if he knew the scent
Of teenage boys, and asked, “What was that noise?”
Then I’d pretend to not know what he meant,
Stand mutely by, my heart immense with dread,
As Father set the traps and went to bed.

Reprinted from “The Alarming Beauty of the Sky,” published by Red Hen Press, 2005, by permission of the author. Copyright © 1998 by Leslie Monsour. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Four months

Today is the Poppy’s 4-month birthday. She wasn’t in the mood for photos today, apparently, but I persisted and got a few cute ones. She’s even in the frame in most of them!

She seems to have perfected the roll-over. She’s been working on it under the Baby Einstein gym. Rockford went to check on her in her crib a few minutes ago, and she was on her tummy. She’s mobile! And tired! But she won’t go to sleep!