On the Eve of Your Ninth Birthday

Your room faces the front of the house
where the streetlights make shadows
like strangers on your wall. Sometimes
you run in bad-dream panic to find me asleep,
not soundly. And so I tell you the story
of your birthday: How you refused
to come when I asked. How we didn’t know
who you were at all, but when we saw
your little chin quivering with the disturbance
of that first light, we said there is
our beautiful daughter. And we held
our hopes to her like hands
and rocked her to sleep.

Katy Luxem (she/her) grew up in Seattle and studied creative writing at the University of Washington. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Poetry Online, The National Poetry Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Appalachian Review, and The Mum Poem Press edited by Liz Berry, among other journals. She currently lives in Salt Lake City with her partner, kids, and dogs.

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