nightwaking

by nicolecallihan

This time last year I was waiting for Ella to be born, imagining the scent and heft of her, already feeling the whole of her, watching her body rise and fall, even inside of me. For months after she was born, I was terrified of losing her. Those were yellow days, but night came: I would call her angel, and a thrush of a thousand wings would take her from me. She’s not like her sister; she wakes so easily that I cannot go to her and place my hand on her chest, and so I find myself sneaking into her room–the streetlight shadows uncertainly static–and I stand (a mad bird) above her crib, straining my ears to hear her breathe, waiting and waiting, until I can finally go, run cold water into a glass before trying, again, to put myself to sleep.

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