Published on Academy of American Poets (

After the First Child, the Second

            for Chris Martin

To you
through whom

these sudden days
blowse & hum

thirst & quench
a tide of tensing trees

days tick by
beats in a song

my body grows
fuller each day

I think my life
has always been

for this quiet

your forehead
& eyelashes

face pressed
to my breast

your skin a texture

my fingertips
wool on cotton

wool on glass
the fibers rise

& I can’t sleep
for being alive


Copyright © 2016 by Mary Austin Speaker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 12, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘After the First Child, the Second’ was composed when I was about twelve weeks pregnant with my second child. I felt suddenly that I should write as many love poems for my husband as possible in the window of time before the next baby absorbed both of us entirely. My poems are, I think, always at their best when they are urgent.”
—Mary Austin Speaker


Mary Austin Speaker

Mary Austin Speaker is the author of The Bridge (Shearsman Books, 2016). 

Date Published: 2016-07-12

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