My Cousin in April

Louise Glück

Under cerulean, amid her backyard's knobby rhubarb squats
My cousin to giggle with her baby, pat
His bald top. From a window I can catch them mull
Basil, glinty silica, sienna through the ground's brocade
Of tarragon, or pause under the oblong shade
Of the garage. The nervous, emerald fanning
Of some rhizome skims my cousin's knee
As up and down she bends to the baby.
I'm knitting sweaters for her second child.
As though, down miles of dinners, had not heard her rock her bed
In rage and thought it years she lay,
Locked in that tantrum. O but such stir as in her body
Had to come round. Amid violet, azalea,
Round around the whole arriving garden now with her son she passes
What I paused to catch, the early bud phases, on the springing grass.

Louise Glück is a poet and essayist. She is the Rosenkranz Writer-in-Residence at Yale and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2020.
Originally published:
June 1, 1971

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