Early Odyssey, Laurinda Lind

Early Odyssey audio file


Early Odyssey


The shallow almost-
breath is the one
that eases babies
out, unless it’s

the downdeep
breath then held,
I never got it right,
but that boat

loaded with an
entire life has
to bash along
a barrier reef

and can only
hope someone
waits on shore
to say, You’ve

done well, you
made it through
the homecoming,
so here’s a harbor

where some town
may keep you
if you’re lucky,
but don’t think

you’re done,
when in fact
you’ve barely
just begun.

Laurinda Lind


Review by Lynn Otto

“Early Odyssey” seems to begin with some instruction on breathing in childbirth, but my impression shifts as the speaker says “I never got it right,” then moves into a metaphor for a child being born as a “boat // loaded with an / entire life” which “has / to bash along / a barrier reef.” It made me smile, as did the surprise of “where some town / may keep you / if you’re lucky.” Yes, the town is still within the metaphor/conceit, but it’s also true, isn’t it, that the lucky ones get a place and a people, not only a welcoming parent? The short lines in this poem seem right for a small baby coming through a narrow vagina, and the title is just right too.


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