February 11, 2007|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

Though parents know that their children will grow up and away from them, will love and be loved by others, it?s a difficult thing to accept. Massachusetts poet Mary Jo Salter emphasizes the poignancy of the parent/child relationship in this perceptive and compelling poem.

? ? Ted Kooser

"Somebody Else's Baby"

From now on they always are, for years now

they always have been, but from now on you know

they are, they always will be,

from now on when they cry and you say

wryly to their mother, better you than me,

you'd better mean it, you'd better

hand over what you can't have, and gracefully.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 2006 by Mary Jo Salter, whose most recent book of poetry is ?Open Shutters.? Reprinted from ?New Letters,? vol. 72, 2006, by permission of the author. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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