Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

The Sons of Katie Elder make such noise!
Dad’s fast asleep, despite his three grandsons
waving their toy pistols, kiddy cowboys
shouting to be heard above John Wayne’s guns.

Mom sits out in the kitchen, where the din
is slightly less ear-splitting, with her boys.
We try to talk, but can’t seem to begin;
glad for the kids and their disruptive toys.

The doctors say it’s spreading quickly now.
It still seems like there must be some mistake.
Mom does what women do, fights through somehow
to give him what he needs when he’s awake;

still throws the curtains wide each day at dawn
to what remains of winter’s weakening sun.