Poems & Essays

21 Oct

Baby Girl

Babyhood No Response

Cheek sweaty against my neck
top of head under my chin
just so
heat rises from her feathery hair

Drifting to sleep
body against body
softness melting into softness
boundaries blurred

My mind tries to work
plan. Won’t
rub up against bliss
till sleep takes over

Even under the fatigue
there is a deliciousness
that body melding into mine
sticky but
my sticky

I could detach myself from her
do some chore but I
let sleep be the most pressing chore
let motherhood be

I never thought I’d be
so much a mother
but when she arrived
I didn’t fight it

It isn’t me
all of me
it is everything
and nothing at all
It just is

Awake, she toddles over to
another reaching relative
the center of everyone’s vision

I loll on the couch
let her be scooped up
let my eyes close to her
let sleep come to me alone

Till her hand pats my face again
a stern and gentle awakening
a drawing of attention
back where it belongs

I gaze at her, take the sticky hand
soft and unformed
put it to my lips
put the fingers back to her lips
teach her to kiss

She imitates and slaps her sticky hand
on my mouth

I must sit up
be awake
be a mother

She will not be this baby much longer
I might miss it for sleepiness
but never real sleep
she sees to that

Alice Knox Eaton is a professor of English at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. She has published essays at Mothers Always Write, The Chronicle of Higher Education, WriteAngles Journal, and Flash Fiction World.

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