American Life in Poetry: Column 221


Sometimes, it's merely the sound of a child's voice in a nearby room that makes a parent feel immensely lucky. To celebrate Father's Day, here's a joyful poem of fatherhood by Todd Boss, who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This Morning in a Morning Voice

to beat the froggiest   
of morning voices,   
   my son gets out of bed   
and takes a lumpish song   
   along—a little lyric   
learned in kindergarten,   
   something about a   
boat. He’s found it in   
   the bog of his throat   
before his feet have hit   
   the ground, follows   
its wonky melody down   
   the hall and into the loo   
as if it were the most   
   natural thing for a little   
boy to do, and lets it   
   loose awhile in there   
to a tinkling sound while   
   I lie still in bed, alive   
like I’ve never been, in   
   love again with life,   
afraid they’ll find me   
   drowned here, drowned   
in more than my fair   
   share of joy.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2008 by Todd Boss, whose most recent book of poems is Yellowrocket, W. W. Norton & Co., 2008. Poem reprinted from Poetry, December 2008, by permission of Todd Boss and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2019 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.