Kathryn Hunt



All through the night,
all through the long witless hallways of my sleep,
from my hospital bed
I heard the newborn babies cry,
bewildered like new arrivals anywhere,
between worlds, unacquainted with
the names of things.

That afternoon a kind nurse named Laura
had taken me for a stroll to exercise
the red line of my wound . . . .
We stopped by the nursery window
and a flannel-swathed boy
in a clear plastic cradle was pushed to the glass.
We peered at him and said, “Welcome.
You’ve come to Earth.”
We laughed and shook our heads.

All through the night,
all through the drug-spangled rapture of my dreams,
I heard the newborn babies sing,
first one, then another. That bright hiss,
those soft octaves of wonder,
the fierce beginning of their lament.


“The Newborns” is reprinted from The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Kathryn Hunt is a writer and filmmaker. Her stories and poems have appeared in Rattle, The Sun, Willow Springs, Crab Orchard Review, and Open Spaces, among other magazines. She is a director of documentary films, including Take this Heart, a feature-length film that was honored with the Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism. She recently completed a memoir, The Province of Leaves, the story of a mother and a daughter and the tangled, maddening, and abiding claims of family. She teaches writing classes in memoir at the Writers’ Workshoppe in Port Townsend. She is a passionate gardener and loves to spend as much time as possible on the hiking trails in the Olympic Mountains near her home.