for my son Tonight poems are specters —
they move around me, unwritten.
There is one in a postcard of a flying fish,
one in my great grandmother’s Christmas angel
hanged like a horsethief in the corner.
There is one in the light shattered
through the lampshade like a carcrash windshield.
There is one in the buzz
of the refrigerator as it cools the milk.
But I choose you, tonight, here,
tangled in the flannel sheets, your head
tipped over the edge of the bed,
a pillow in a daisied case flattened
uselessly between your knees. The soles
of your socks are filthy. There is a scribble
of a robot left on your palm, and another
crawling up your thigh. In the morning,
I will pour the Cheerios, make you
eat three, then two, then one
more spoonful. In the morning you’ll bite
when I brush your tiny teeth.
Tonight you snore.
No poem needs writing as much as yours
tonight. I want nothing
other than to watch over you, my sleeping
child. Perhaps if I look long enough,
I will see your dreams. In just a moment,
I’ll see you mount a flying fish,
and battle the horsethieves and angels.
Or perhaps your dreams will be quiet:
your mother reading you a poem
or going to pour you a glass of milk, her face
leaning into the light of the refrigerator.
Elizabeth Faith Aamot