A. E. Stallings

First Born, Last Born


In the beginning, you were the only child,
Your firsts were first, we thrilled to watch you go
From one stage to another, and outgrow
Clothes, shoes, pirates, dinosaurs, the mild
Childish lisp that childhood soon corrects.
We bit our lips if you were ever slow
To reach some milestone, and breathed deep to know
You'd ticked the box, zipped on to what came next.

Your alphas are omegas—when you crawl,
Then walk, it is our last first step. We call
Things by your idiolect, the off-key vowel
Or mixed-up consonants—we would delay
The end of alphabets, the grown-up day
You'll tell us it's an owl and not a howl.