When the lights are out
and the house is quiet,
when yesterday's clothes are strewn about
and the only sound's the creaky picket
fence, when everyone's asleep,
I finally wake up.
I go through my routine:
drink tea from my favorite cup,
read a magazine - stories on deep
sea creatures (ghostly and alien-like),
fold the still unsorted clean
linen, with stitched-in names, Mike
and Jane, names I don't quite remember.
I go through the drawers
and smell the bunches of lavender
tucked between the shirts, his n' hers.
Sometimes I get close to the beds
(on my tippy toes though no one
can hear me) and watch the children slumber,
their chests rise and fall, stunned
at how alive they look while asleep, how red
their cheeks and kips can be even when the sun
is nowhere to be seen. Alive, asleep, unencumbered.
In a moment of foolish bravery, as though on a mission,
I startle myself: I kiss Mike and Jane's
untroubled brows. They feel nothing,
perhaps a slight coolness, a breeze. The pain's
all mine, th