Louisa Whitman’s Lullaby 

by Lindsay O'Connor Stern
To infant Walt
Fresh from the other place, still wet, the sky
no longer moonless, you remember well
the dark, unchanging tides from which you fell,
evicted from that ocean into “I”
(imperfect home, you know—why ever else
would this raw pealing colonize your lungs,
each as a lone candlefish flung
gasping upon a bank of drying shells).
That pealing is the only honest sound,
vowel of a language ours will teach
you to resign. Dauntless, you will pursue
in ours what ours—as yet—has never found:
that sea still innocent of speech
where everything is you.