Going on Three
by Richard Fein
Busy box, kazoo, drum, rattles shelved
for the night, my granddaughter, going on three,
whined, sniffled, and vexed, herself
the noisy plaything she could not put away.
My knees on the flooras if I were devout
I lay my head next to hers, trying to coax
her off to sleep, inviting her to join me,
though at first I was only persuading myself,
but finally her twitching ended, her eyes
reluctantly surrendered to their lids,
her breath tempered, her body unbraced,
and her harried face retreated to sleep.
Strands of hair turned still, and fingers
sprawled, giving up her paper flower to the sheets.
Inches from her, I studied the red rims
of her nostrils, her poised beads of mucus,
and the scaly chafed skin in the groove
between her nose and lip. I lifted my head,
rose, tiptoed to the lamp and as it went
to higher wattage I saw the ochre bear,
padded on her pajama-jumpsuit, breathing with her.
Copyright © 2003 by Richard Fein.