For Olivia, on Your First Birthday
by Morgan S. Grether
Today I ask myself (and reader, you
Can ask yourself as well as we go along)
What is the greatest sound there is to hear?
I close my eyes in thought. My mind rolls through
Its little catalog: a Kansas freight
Train's rattling din, Glenn Gould's soft math
In Goldberg Variations, V.U.'s twist
On lullabies in "Sunday Morning," ice
Beneath my shoes in summer walks alone
In central Idaho. Though in the past
The items on this list would fight for top
Position, all has changed today, as I've
Developed different tastes, new ways to hear
The world around me. Now the greatest sound,
Olivia, without a doubt must be
Your laugh, my daughter. Nothing can compare.
The trials of a long workday collapse
Beneath the power of your smallest hint
Of giggling, and instantly I'm all
Aglow. You hold me tight; I hold you up
And tickle you beneath your ears to hear
That magic sound, that paradise, your laugh.