» Poetry

His First Night Home

from the hospital, I heard him cry

and lifted him from his bed

and brought him into ours,

and after his mother had fed him,

I rested him on my chest,

which rose and fell with him

until daylight.


And when I brought him home

from the hospital again,

after the social worker persuaded him

to let her call me, and after he told me

he thought he was ready to quit

using, I was afraid he might

sneak away in the night,

so I had him sleep beside me,

where all night long I heard

his labored breath, felt,

his legs beat against the sheets:


that sparrow, stunned

by the window’s false sky,

trembling in my hands,

catching its breath until

it fluttered and flew away.



Reed Wilson

Reed Wilson’s poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Cortland Review, and elsewhere, and his book reviews in Poetry International, The Chattahoochee Review, and The Summerset Review. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches writing at UCLA.