Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rocking Anna to Sleep

by Judson Mitcham

                                          It was almost sorrow, what I used to know
                                          as a child, not wanting to drift off, 
                                          hearing the even, deep breaths 
                                          of my brother, to whom
                                          everything was lost:  the cracked door's
                                          line of pure light climbing the wall, 
                                          far down Church Street, a solitary bark
                                          catching on, even the cool pillow, 
                                          its familiar smell.
                                                                     The small breaths
                                          of the girl failing in my arms
                                          grow slower and deep.
                                          She trails this worn blue nylon nightgown
                                          all over the house.  She loves
                                          the feel of one button.  But I know 
                                          if I lifted her hand, 
                                          it would easily open and fall back
                                          free as a raindrop.
                                                                       The rocker's soft 
                                          creak keeps time.  I let it die.
                                          And perhaps she's startled by the change
                                          or has gone so far in her dreams, 
                                          she can say--by tightening her grip 
                                          when I pull at the gown--you are wrong
                                          if you think there is nothing in the world
                                          you can always hold.


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