First Word – a poem by Joanne Durham

First Word


We waited – 
through coos 
and babbles, 
pebbles the tides 
tossed from his lips,

waited 
for a sound
we could proudly 
proclaim
as papa, 

for something 
akin to boo
as blueberries 
purpled 
his chin.

Finally, as sun 
startled 
his drowsy eyes,
he said ite. 
With outstretched arms 

he chased beacons 
bouncing across the ceiling,
wobbled 
into the shared space 
of language,

and first, 
there was light


Joanne Durham is a retired educator living on the North Carolina coast, with the ocean as her backyard. She was a finalist for the 2021 NC Poetry Society’s Laureate Award and the NC State Poetry Contest. Her publications and background can be found at https://www.joannedurham.com/.

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