American Life in Poetry: Column 372

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

We’ve published a number of engaging poems about parenthood in this column, and we keep finding more. Here’s Wendy Videlock, who lives in Colorado, taking a look into a child’s room.

Disarmed

I should be diligent and firm,
I know I should, and frowning, too;
again you’ve failed to clean your room.
Not only that, the evidence
of midnight theft is in your bed—
cracked peanut shells and m&m’s
are crumbled where you rest your head,
and just above, the windowsill
is crowded with a green giraffe
(who’s peering through your telescope),
some dominoes, and half a glass
of orange juice. You hungry child,

how could I be uncharmed by this,
your secret world, your happy mess?


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2003 by Wendy Videlock from her most recent book of poems, Nevertheless, Able Muse Press, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Wendy Videlock and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2017 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.