The Game I’ll Always Play

Your sudden cry has pierced an arrow through my dreams

(like every other night this week, or so it seems).

Bits of shattered images rattle in my head

as I shake the weariness that clings to me

and stumble to your bed.

I don’t know what troubles you at this hour

(I don’t think you really know)

but something made you arch your back away from sleep

wriggle out of Slumber’s arms,

and demand a chest on which to weep.

I sway slowly as your screams subside to half-swallowed sobs

that stick in the night, already thick with unfinished dreams.

I stroke your hair, your face and try to find last night’s lullaby;

a whispered shhhhhhhh blown softly in the air,

that flits around the room until you close your eyes.


Hush sshhh.

Hush sshhh.

Hush sshhh.


We rock, locked in night’s embrace.

And here we stay for now.

No sense of time – it is three stars past the moon.

It is heavy-lidded, cold feet, goose-bumped flesh, darkened haze.

No sleep until you sleep o’clock.

Your weight rests heavy on my shoulder (no longer baby days)

I untangle your arms and lay you down.

You protest and fill the room with more choking cries

but start to settle when you see that I am near.


Hush sshhh. Have no fear.


I wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And with bated breath make my way towards the door and –


curse at the floor,

curse at this game of non-musical statues

of which I always lose,

but which you know I’ll always play.



Leave a Reply