Published on Academy of American Poets (


She, being the midwife
and your mother’s
longtime friend, said
I see a heart; can you
see it? And on the grey
display of the ultrasound
there you were as you were,
our nugget, in that moment
becoming a shrimp
or a comma punctuating
the whole of my life, separating
its parts—before and after—,
a shrimp in the sea
of your mother, and I couldn’t
help but see the fast
beating of your heart
translated on that screen
and think and say to her,
to the room, to your mother,
to myself It looks like
a twinkling star.
I imagine I’m not
the first to say that either.
Unlike the first moments
of my every day,
the new of seeing you was the first
—deserving of the definite article—
moment I saw a star
at once so small and so
big, so close and getting closer
every day, I pray.


Copyright © 2019 by Sean Hill. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 13, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Hello’ is one of those occasional gifts, an unexpected poem that comes out as a fluent spill. After going to the first ultrasound with my wife, I returned to my office to go over things for an evening class, but I was so moved by what I’d just experienced that I had to articulate those overwhelming feelings in this poem—probably my first words to my child. It flowed out of me, and then in some fashion I got on with my day. I didn’t pray regularly at that time, so I was a little surprised by the last words of this poem.”
Sean Hill


Sean Hill

Sean Hill is the author of two poetry collections, most recently Dangerous Goods (Milkweed Editions, 2014), which was awarded the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry.

Date Published: 2019-12-13

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