Barely a month old and already
everyone wants a piece of him.
Uncle Ed says those eyes are mine.
Aunt Nancy can’t stop holding his hands
because they are her mother’s exactly.
Beth sees his chin every time she looks in the mirror.
The grandparents on one side say it’s the family nose.
The grands on the other side pull back their hair
to show how the contours of their ears match his.
That mouth belongs to Robin, distant cousin on nobody’s side.
Mom and Dad glance at each other, stare at the baby.
A well-meaning friend chimes in—he’s a perfect blend,
I don’t see either of you in him.
Get used to it, kid, everybody wants something from you.
And they’ll swear they’re giving you a gift.
You were born knowing how to cry, just like the rest of us.
Learning to laugh is work. When you do, it’s all yours.
May it be robust and generous.
ERIC NELSON’s poems have appeared in many print and online venues, including The Sun, Poetry, The Oxford American, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. The most recent of his six poetry collections, Some Wonder, was published by Gival Press in 2015. His new collection, Horse Not Zebra, which includes “The Creature,” will be published in 2022 by Terrapin Books. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Read more by Eric Nelson:
Seven poems at the Poetry Foundation
Five Poems in Redux
Four poems in The Sun
Follow Eric Nelson on Twitter