Coming home from the women-only bar,
I go into my son's room.
He sleeps—fine, freckled face
thrown back, the scarlet lining of his mouth
shadowy and fragrant, his small teeth
glowing dull and milky in the dark,
opal eyelids quivering
like insect wings, his hands closed
in the middle of the night.

                           Let there be enough
room for this life: the head, lips,
throat, wrists, hips, penis,
knees, feet. Let no part go
unpraised. Into any new world we enter, let us
take this man.

“Son” from The Dead and the Living by Sharon Olds. Copyright © 1983 by Sharon Olds. Originally published by Alfred A. Knopf. Used with the permission of the author.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episode “Odes to the *****.

Reflections