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A poem about motherhood: “Ghosts”

Have you ever thought, “Maybe there are not really ghosts, just worried mothers?”

I have, often as I hesitate over my sleeping baby’s crib, my body tense, my lungs contracted.

I need to hear his tiny sounds so I make none.

A twist deep in my belly, that cavernous place,

the first home he ever left needs to know he is just as alive now as he was two, five, fifteen minutes ago.

My lungs scream but my guts and synapses have decided I must have certainty much more than my only body needs air.

Snug in his sleep dress my little baby sighs and my chest can pound again.

Years later will this child have a version of me, wild-eyed and distorted through sleep -wakings and time that keeps him up at night?

Will my compulsions be the creatures at the end of his bed as he yells out for me to reassure him he is safe?

I wonder what is the difference between caring and looming?

Assurance is not insurance.

Still I focus towards his crib, cell phone flashlight making shadows of the bars.

I tell myself this is the last check of the night.

Where does my terror, greedy, become my child’s burden?

Is it here?

Before I rest, as I hold my breath, as I hover over him just one more time?

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