Our youngest children fall asleep
on the couch each night. Bodies limp,
arms suspended in childlike poses as
they mingle in fantasy, waiting, unknowingly
to be scooped up by their father and carried
off to bed. Our daughter’s mouth is always slightly ajar,
her ringlet curls bounce, each sorrel strand shifts to meet
his shoulder and she is home—born of father’s yearning
and content to know him. When he moves her, she appears
as light air, though her legs hang near his knees now—
each day she’s spilling out of this mold of a little girl.
Our son is flush with languor, a compact boy, idle in his rest
before his father lifts him laboriously beneath his shoulders,
knees bent with the weight of six-year-old concerns, dipped in gravity
and thirsty for the warmth of bed, his stomach brimming with one last drink.
I don’t carry our children to bed. If daddy isn’t there to displace
their placid chassis, to their bed or ours, I lie beside them.
My movements aren’t fluid like a father, fixed and firm
but without concern. I watch their stomachs rise and fall
while he rests with them, they remain asleep—
a steady beat of working day slipping from them
with each contented breath, eyes unlatched
to be sure he stays a while.
Jesse Albatrosov is an emerging voice drawing inspiration from life—the day-to-day of raising children, creative endeavors and keeping a home while writing—trying above all else to give human experiences a vibrant, visual life. She was the runner up in the 2017 Writer’s Atelier contest for short fiction and her work is published or forthcoming in THAT Literary Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Mothers Always Write and Press 53’s Prime Number Magazine. You can find her online at www.jessealbatrosov.com or on Facebook and Instagram: @jalbatrosov.