The wailing begins again at 3am,
so he wills his sleep-heavy body
out from under blanket warmth,
his wife's curled body motionless
as he rises from the bed.
Heavy feet arrive at the infant's
room. He raises her to his shoulder
and sways back and forth to
the mating of crickets and house
sounds while he walks towards the
coat closet, finds his spring jacket.
The episode is over quickly,
her late-night terrors subsided.
He gently tucks her back under her
pink blanket and creeps out.
Digs into deep pockets searching for
a lighter, sneaks into the backyard to smoke,
into the garage to contemplate, into the car,
out onto a long stretch of highway to find
the life he imagined twenty years ago,
far away from suburbia.
Something of your own
You cling to the tangible images
of what grows inside of you.
You hold a print of the ultrasound
in your hands, carry it
to work with you and place it
under the glass desk mat to watch over.
You cannot let this one pass through you.
You hold your breath and count the days
to your second trimester, a deep exhale.
"This one won't leave me like the last",
when afterwards, you hid in cyberspace
and tweeted your anguish.
You watch your best friend's stomach swell and
listen to her argue over names with her husband.
At your small, rented house, you distract yourself
by packing boxes with dishes and ornaments,
baby clothes and toys never used
in wishful thought of moving
into something of your own.
We decide to avoid a night at a table,
as chair fillers in the conversation of people
who aren't terribly interested in what we have to say
and spend over an hour in a parking lot.
Me, talking and staring at my feet a lot.
You, on a tangent about the idiot who hit your car,
while I chime in about the scrapes and dings on mine
and soon the conversation shifts to the many
tribulations of trying to find the one person who
won't fuck you and run away,
or how family is just fucked in general and finds
ways to hurt you and themselves
by drinking themselves into oblivion or
staying in marriages where they barely speak to
each other, let alone fuck on a regular basis.
And that's when the helplessness in your eyes
makes me sadder and the little voice in my head
tells me to walk over to you and give you a hug
just so your arms will stop flailing and maybe
it will console you for a few minutes before
you have to immerse yourself back into the
frustration of living with someone who created you
yet knows not one fucking thing about you.
Instead, I look down at my shoes again,
repress everything I want to reveal
and we leave in our scarred cars
without even touching.