Last night he took his first breath,
in the underworld was an old house from the creator,
it had a garden of sorrows and a place for shade,
it had a rainforest of purgations, godmother to the angels,
beloved before the world’s justice. The last thing I saw
that night was him in my arms, down beneath the moonlight
a scallop in a storm storm, pining for you all the night
and the promise
of long, intense love.
They love him here
Your lights for us made the baby smell special:
once when he would look in and ask you,
“Is it warm in here,” and you answered,
“Oh, are you asleep?”
soon he knew to pull you right
then and there, because just because
there was another thing in the world,
then I knew he loved you.
Online at www.artlylearning.org, p. 38
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is the founder of Artly Learning, a social movement that empowers students, teachers and administrators to create a better, more connected world through arts education. Naomi Shihab Nye is an award-winning writer and teacher who is using poetry to connect her students to Asian American history and traditions, and in doing so, tap into the potential of diverse voices to create vibrant and diverse communities. This story was originally published in print and online October 18, 2017. It has been reprinted with permission of the artist and NYTimes.com.