American Life in Poetry: Column 221

Sometimes, it’s merely the sound of a child’s voice in a nearby room that makes a parent feel immensely lucky. To celebrate Father’s Day, here’s a joyful poem of fatherhood by Todd Boss, who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This Morning in a Morning Voice

to beat the froggiest

of morning voices,

my son gets out of bed

and takes a lumpish song

along–a little lyric

learned in kindergarten,

something about a

boat. He’s found it in

the bog of his throat

before his feet have hit

the ground, follows

its wonky melody down

the hall and into the loo

as if it were the most

natural thing for a little

boy to do, and lets it

loose awhile in there

to a tinkling sound while

I lie still in bed, alive

like I’ve never been, in

love again with life,

afraid they’ll find me

drowned here, drowned

in more than my fair

share of joy.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2008 by Todd Boss, whose most recent book of poems is “Yellowrocket,” W. W. Norton & Co., 2008. Poem reprinted from “Poetry,” December 2008, by permission of Todd Boss and the publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation.  The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.  We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.