Sotto Voce

by Bonnie Pockley

As I lie here beside you, I want to get away. I’m busy. There are things I need to do. I’m tired.

Instead, you pull my arm across your chest and hold it there with my palm flat against you and both arms wrapped around it. I can feel your breath on the edge of my fingers and the soft heave of your heart. ‘Mummy,’ you say, ‘staaaaay Mummy, staaaaay.’

It’s the drawn out process of bedtime. Hours get spent like this. We used to sing and cuddle and stroke your backs until you slept but then 2 hours would slip by and the habit became too much. We changed it to lights-out, a kiss goodnight and, briefly, reclaimed some of those lost nights.

Yet here we are. Here we lie.

And I?

Surrender this trespass into my adult time.

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