Poems & Essays

23 Mar

Reminiscence of the Sleep Bringer

General/Column No Response

In the dark, my son slaps

at my three-day-old scruff

and I recall the texture

of my father’s face when camping,

when his electric razor would die

allowing a salt-and-pepper shadow

to crawl over his chin;


I remember kneading his face

between the heels of my hands

to identify the person

lifting me out of the steel sink

in a Cook Forest bathhouse;


or perhaps now I just know

how it must have been

to be small and loved

that I imagine myself

in my son’s place, stroking

the coarse grain of a cheek,

tracing the edges


in a darkened room,

shade pulled to block out the starlight reflecting

from the snow, swaying steady

in the arms of an awkward giant—

the sleep bringer

shushing the darkness.
Daniel Ruefman is a poet whose work has appeared most recently in The Red Earth Review, The Flagler Review, Gravel Magazine, SLAB, Temenos, and DIALOGIST (among others). His chapbook, BREATHE AUTOMATIC, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Daniel is the father to one and teaches writing at the University of Wisconsin–Stout.

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