She wanders out from her room
to yell at the dog and tell me
a nightmare. So awful, Mom. A semi, the center line. You died. Mascara
marks her cheeks, and she settles
in my arms like the second baby she is,
held against disaster and my denim shirt.
Her hair smells of straw and sleep. I’m still here, I say, nothing happened, nothing will ever happen, I’m here. After, the nightmare is banished by
the tap of my clogs on the hardwood,
the morning steps from sink to stove,
the lullaby scent of oatmeal and raisins.
Karen Berry lives, works and writes in Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has been published in Goblin Fruit, Prairie Poetry, Napalm and Novocaine, and many other anthologies and journals. She is the author of one novel and the co-author of another. Most importantly, she has three daughters, and raising them has been the work of a lifetime.