To O’s Dad

Tonight, you are the captain.

You arm yourself against his pleas,

entering at intervals:

a warm hand to his cheek,

a gentle shush,

a whispered I love you.

 

You are a quiet, calming presence

that reminds me of his birth day –

our son to your chest,

instantly reassuring

you will always be there for him.

 

As you patiently teach him

to put himself to sleep,

I hide downstairs and know

I have never loved you more.

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The Tough Ones

Here is the truth of the matter:

in the morning I will say

I am tired of this life.

 

You wake for the day – 7 am –

and I already feel empty.

It has been another

long

unsuccessful

night.

 

I fantasize about working,

a relief to the pattern of our days:

feed, play, nap – never easily and never

for as long as you need.

You’re tired, you fuss, and I track

the minute hand as it crawls

around the clock.

 

Sometimes the days are so long I could scream.

 

We escape, walk along the beach.

My love for you is the ocean

but I’m stuck in a low tide.

To the Mom Who…

confessed to hiding

the cans of formula

in her cart,

terrified

of judgement:

 

Society has failed you,

making you feel ashamed

for choices you make

to feed

your child.

 

He is happy.

He is healthy.

 

I say

unabashedly pile

that nourishment

into your cart and

fuck the noise

trying to make you

feel less than.

Then and Now

I.

The late winter sun was my siren call.

I would lumber up the stairs,

book in tow,

settle into the glider.

Swivel to face the Western window,

lemon rays bathing us

as you somersaulted in my belly

and my eyelids hung heavy.

Naps were inevitable.

 

II.

Your holler crackles through the monitor.

I blink sleep from my eyes, sway down the hallway –

yellow bursting dizzyingly in my

exhausted vision.

I scoop you up and settle in,

your mouth already rooting.

The window is covered in starry curtains;

I’m reminded of long naps on lazy afternoons.

Nighttime Decisions

You have broken out of your swaddle.

1:30 am and I’m down two choices:

1) Reswaddle you. But you’ll break out again

in a couple of hours.

Or

2) Change swaddles. Risk a full wake up.

 

I opt for choice 2, my hands deftly

unzipping and lifting, a tornado

of movement despite

your cries of protest.

 

Breath held, I zip you in.

You roll on your side,

mouth sucking away on pacifier,

hands huddled to cheeks.

Asleep.

Magically asleep.

 

Except.

 

Except you are on the floor

(where the swaddle swap happened)

And I feel it in my gut:

movement equals wake up.

 

So I curl my body around yours –

you, the little spoon,

coax my heartbeat to slow

to lull you into deeper sleep.

Until your breaths become peaceful puffs

the floor will be our bed.

 

In this moment,

I wouldn’t have it any other way.