Naomi by Travis Wright


She was first to show

me how I too had been

brought here unwillingly

and prompted by a solemn

promise to say thank you.

What did I learn? No one

had ever lived for the first

time in my hands before.

No one had appeared in

the world with my eyes

before or changed from

want to life because of

my life before. I had heard

one morning winter’s first

birdsong burst through

the clear white hush like

a pageant of bells, and

hurry on, like dying words

laid down before last rites—

but there, beside the table,

where our voices changed,

I learned the power of

this purity I knew before

only as hope, and saw,

finally, in her, that we

who fed war’s technology

were given daughters

as proof time still lends

its trembling hands

to us with forgiveness.

Travis Wright

Travis Wright is a graduate student in Charlotte, NC where he lives with his wife Emily and their two children. His work has appeared previously in the Brooklyn Quarterly, Anthropocene, and ARTOS, among others.

About this poem

The poem "Naomi" describes Travis's experience of holding his first child and hearing her voice and having nothing to compare its surreality with except war and forgiveness.