Posts Tagged ‘bedtime’

Time Bend




Stepping into my children’s room

it is nine years ago and I almost trip over

the rocking chair that isn’t there,

can almost smell the calendula cream

I used for their bottoms, hear

the drone of the humidifier.

How different those quiet nights,

the amber glow of the night light,

the way their new bodies curled

so easily into the curve of my arm.

Not that I want to go back to those nights,

but how sweet they are now, how long

they were then. I want to tell that younger

version of myself that there will come

a day when she will wish she could

sit in the quiet and hold her children

through the night. But she wouldn’t believe me.

Too tired for belief. She just keeps

humming that lullaby, rocking back

and forth, her eyes closed as if to dream.




Dear friends, I’ll be camping the next few days, so no poems posted for a while … a bouquet when I return. xo


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Don’t stop, she says,

and grabs my hand

and pulls it again

to her back. She

rakes it across

her skin and urges the nails

deeper in to scratch

some invisible itch

that she can’t reach herself.


In the thin light of vespers,

her face is more shadow

than shape. Still,

as my hand grazes

her skin, I make out

the place where her brow begins,

the jut of her nose, her angle of chin,


and she is no longer

nine years old, but some

timeless version of herself—

maybe thirty, or sixty,

or eighty-four, some year

when I am no longer

near to scratch

the unreachable spot.


The thought of it

makes me linger longer

than I normally do—

until her breathing changes,

until she is nine again,

her body curling

into her blanket,

her hand opening

into sleep.







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Before she sleeps, my daughter and I

face each other on her pillow,

our heads heavy, our eyes half mast,


and in the dim light we recite

“The Owl and the Pussycat”—

the words seem to leap between


our breaths so that we can’t tell

where each other’s voice ends or starts,

and I think of the pericardium


around the heart, which the Chinese say

is a boundary place that decides

who gets in and who stays out,


and I marvel at how, for now,

on this quiet night, our hearts

seem to need not any space apart,


and after the owl and the pussycat

dance to the light of the moon, the moon,

we curl into each other’s curves


like two parentheses

on the same side of a thought,

like twin silver runsible spoons.

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One Unpredictability

playing chase

with a thunderstorm—

tucking my son into bed

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