Maeve by William Palmer


She is wrapped
in a blanket with a blue glow
under her

to reduce her jaundice,
backlit like a small bough
on a Christmas tree.

My son changes her,
then lays her tenderly
in the curve of my arm.

She wears only a diaper,
her cord above it
hardened dark.

As I speak to her, her eyes move
on me, her tiny lips pushing out
in perfect circles, as if kissing air.

I touch her ruddy feet,
skim the soft skin
of her chest and cheeks.

I have forgotten
how my son felt newborn,
as if that part of me had fallen off.

Just a year ago,
my darkness black,
I thought of leaving.

And here, now,
I am holding Maeve,
her name Irish for joy.


William Palmer’s poetry has appeared recently in Braided Way, Innisfree, JAMA, J Journal, One Art, On the Seawall, Poetry East, Sheila-Na-Gig, and The Westchester Review. A retired professor of English at Alma College, he lives in Traverse City, Michigan.