I climb in and wrap
my arms around the boy I know
is forever mine
I use these secret lies
to balm the places
that will be pruned
without my consent
and without fair
He is still fidgeting, clicking his tongue’s metronome against the verses of the song.
“Shh, baby. Take a deep breath.”
“Because we are helping the little whale get ready for bedtime.” I speak in a whisper. Bug turns, his pajama top riding up over his belly. I tug it back down, stroking my fingers against his back and side as he rolls yet again. He is a porpoise, rifling through the sheets and leaving a storm of tangled linen in his wake. He shivers. “Shhh.” I take in a deep breath and let my chest rise before easing the air out. I watch him do the same. “That baby whale is gliding in the dark water under the starry sky, slowly, slowly, until it’s just the waves bobbing him to sleep.”
Bug presses backwards into me and sighs. His lungs flutter like fins before finding the rhythm of the lullaby. He is half awake and then not and then he has slipped down below the surface where I cannot reach. I finish out the final verses. The song is a treasure chest I have to close so nothing precious escapes.
With the morning sun
Another day’s begun
you’ll soon be waking. . .
I breathe the tune down low, voice vibrating out through my ribs and into his.
In the face of these legacies his daddy and I leave him to bear (the poor eyesight, the tempest heart) at least the lyrics I have stashed away in those underground caves will be there if he chooses to seek comfort there. With song, even the deepest places will retain one small portion of light. He will learn, should we not fail him completely, that this will be more than enough to find his way.