I wake at 3:15am, weight shifting towards her,
did she hear the rain? I listen to her snared cry,
try to understand the rhythm of dreams,
what happens behind her eyes, as we travel back
into our room, hazy in gathered night,
shadowed gloom making everything strange,
I rearrange us, fuss up pillows, billow bedding
to hold us tight until morning light comes.
Other people stir, the breathing agents of sound
too loud for easy rest. She settles, eyelids flutter,
I lie awake, stilled by rallying whispers of breathing,
marvel at the differences of our waking world,
how we stand at ease and claim our places,
and how deeply we commit to sleep,
though we fight it, nightly, reading story after story,
playing as late as we dare. The day is wrung from us
in fits and starts, sung through open lips,
teasing the snagging air, a stored syntax
of waking tongues, that have begun to find the sounds
they need to make, and try them in the wee small hours,
before daytime takes us away into another realm,
to refashion us into sometime else, and make us whole again.
Ali Jones is a teacher and mother of three. Her work has appeared in Fire, Poetry Rivals, Strange Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Snakeskin Poetry, Atrium, Mother’s Milk Books, Breastfeeding Matters, Breastfeeding Today and Green Parent magazine. She has also written for The Guardian.