Somebody Else’s Baby

By Mary Jo Salter b. 1954
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.

Reprinted from New Letters, vol. 72, no. 3-4, 2006, by permission of the poet. Copyright © 2006 by Mary Jo Salter, whose most recent book of poetry is Open Shutters, Knopf, 2003.

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Poet Mary Jo Salter b. 1954

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Gender & Sexuality, Living, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Mary Jo Salter


Poet, editor, essayist, playwright, and lyricist Mary Jo Salter was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She grew up in Michigan and Maryland, and earned degrees from Harvard and Cambridge University. A former editor at the Atlantic Monthly, poetry editor at the New Republic, and co-editor of the fourth and fifth editions of the Norton Anthology of Poetry Salter’s thorough understanding of poetic tradition is clearly evident in her . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Gender & Sexuality, Living, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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