Undone

by nicolecallihan

Now, you sleep. A wave of sour milk,

a hundred piles of wash and me, your mother, in bed

crying real tears, your gums already so familiar,

and your feet, your seabird cry,

and now, you sleep, a sleep of the very tired,

a sleep I long to be sleeping,


but your cry, your breath. I hear too much

of you, hear black and blue, and when I reach

for you (as I do and do and do),


my hand finds the warm, moist air from your nose,

and I count your breaths. (One, two). Now, you sleep,

and I stand over you, and I want already


for you to forgive me, forgive my lurking,

my counting, forgive my bone-tired bones,

my envying your rest, my wondering if I can do this loving,


this I am your mother, and you are my child

kind of loving. Now, you sleep, and the wash stays

undone, and I too am undone, completely undone by you.

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