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Still Life #1

There are a few moments burning
behind my eyes, set as anchors
between the muddle of everyday memories.
Most blur into each other and meld
into this impression of life
as I lived it, but a few moments remain,
hooking me back to their time.

I laid my baby in his crib.
His forehead was pressed into my chest,
one hand between my arm and ribs,
the other in the hair at the back of my neck.
It was dark but light from the hallway
lit his room in a long rectangle.
I heard his determined breaths in their sleep rhythm
over the heater and humidifier. He gets so
warm right when he falls asleep –
a sudden spike in temperature
right as he turns boneless in my arms.
His foot twitched against my hip.
I laid him in his crib and knew
deeply that surge of heartbreak that comes
every night, my last glimpse of him
in this day’s light. Tomorrow he is a new baby:
one more tooth, new consonants, one more step
closer to crawling and walking. While he sleeps,
my heart misses the baby he was.

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