Nighttime used to be mine.

Then it was the struggle to turn over, your feet under my ribs.

Then it was a contraction and another and another and I think this is it.

Now it is being pulled, pulled from the depth of slumber by your tears.

Now it is up every two hours, the sweet smell of milk.

Now it is 12:45am and 3:20am and 5:30am, though some might call that morning.

Now it is waking in a panic, because you haven’t woken me.

Now it is your chest against mine, radiating heat like a flame, when did I give you the last dose of medicine?

Now it is a thump, a body on the floor not used to a bed.

Now it is your breath on my face, willing my eyes open with its rhythm.

Now it is whispers in the dark, a glass of water, please, just one.

Now it is changing the sheets, soaked with urine, and promises that it won’t happen again.

Now it is your own reading light, which you forget to turn off.

Now it is I’m worried, Mom, I can’t sleep.

Now it is footfalls on the stairs, I’m not tired, Mom, and maybe you aren’t.

Soon it will be your bedtime later than mine.

Soon it will be the party I’ll pick you up from at midnight.

Soon it will be a creak of the front door, the clock standing sentry, not me.

Always it gives way to light, with you one day older.


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  1. says

    Lauren, I am struck with the images you paint of a child growing up. Who among us moms has not felt so many (if not all of these?) Beautiful! With our youngest a senior in high school, in a year’s time, she will return to her freshman dorm, climb into her x-long twin sheets, and switch off a lamp clasped to the twin bed. Back home, I will be unaware of all of this…..

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  2. Marleen Arenivar says

    This is a great little poem. Makes me think of how different each year is with Julian. I cherish those wonderful nights I get to cuddle with him. Because I know it won't last forever.

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