First Word – a poem by Joanne Durham

First Word

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

for a sound
we could proudly 
as papa, 

for something 
akin to boo
as blueberries 
his chin.

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

he chased beacons 
bouncing across the ceiling,
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

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