local_library A Delicate Frustration

by Madelynn Dickerson

Published in Issue No. 247 ~ December, 2017

My son won’t fall asleep at night.
He is a chicken,
recently killed,
lurching and twitching,
batting away the sleep that
has gathered around him
like flies
while I sit my interminable
cooing consonants softly
in the dark room.
Sweat clinging to me,
I drop him
back in bed
over and over and over,
impotent rage reaching my
fingertips as I hear the
kitchen clock tick tick tick.
We are still here.
He shrieks madly and
I foolishly attempt to sing
a lullaby.
He wedges a tiny ankle
through the wooden slats
of his bed
and I suck in air
to calm myself.
I think maybe if
I write a poem in my head
while waiting for the end
of this, I might survive it.
But by the time I hear
his breath comes out slow,
I emerge into the brightness
of unmade dinner and
scattered mail and
whatever words I had put
together in the dark
burn up and disappear.

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Madelynn Dickerson is a writer and librarian in California. Her poetry chapbook, Apastron, is forthcoming from Plan B Press in 2017.