Little Brother

Little Brother

Little Brother by Anna Ancher, 1905.

Little Brother

In the late afternoon the blue room fills
with languid light. Three little girls stand round
while in Mother’s arms the new baby stills
his little cries, that new strange squalling sound.
Mother gazes down at her well-wrapped son
He’s in pink, as is she– the warm, strong color
of rosy cheeks and cats’ scratchy tongues.
Such a small wee thing, they gasp in wonder.
The dark-cap girl, who only yesterday
was the family’s baby, has grown to giant size.
She twists one fist in the pinafore’s gray
pocket; the other rubs her tired eyes.
Can I hold him? the oldest asks, pleading,
her whole body taut with urgent needing.

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