Reading poetry in the afternoon—
my young son sleeps next to me
on the sofa, nursing a fever,
his breath a soft susurration.
Out strolling the streets his mother and twin brother,
stopping at a grocery store for food for dinner.
Upstairs, the neighbor’s dog scrambles
on the hard wood floor, and I feel anger rise
fearing this will wake my son.
Above, furniture is moved around with scrapings—
my sleeping son turns over. Just as anger rises again
the noise stops. It is quiet.
What if we lost him? What if
his fever never breaks, keeps climbing?
What if we have to rush him
To the ER? What if it is
too late? What if they cannot save him?
Then I look at him next to me
and I know he is just sleeping; only a child
with a low-grade fever. Faintly I hear the hushing
of the noise machine
in the nursery set to “waves.”
As he wakes, his eyes open. I put down my book,
he asks for Mama, I say
that she will be back soon.
This is enough for him.
He turns over onto his stomach,
goes back to sleep.
I have yet to know grief;
I have yet to know loss;
yet to feel that beat of heart
disperse in air. Moments
are fleeting as wind,
are falling leaves,
are all I have been given.